Plans and Preparations for the North Burma Campaign:
October-December 1943

Chapter I
The Last Preparations

Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell's concern with command problems in China, Burma, and India can be traced to the ARCADIA Conference in Washington, December 1941, when Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek that China's leader become Supreme Commander of a United Nations "China Theater." The Generalissimo agreed and, in replying, asked that a high-ranking U.S. Army officer be sent to China to be chief of staff of the Allied staff that the Generalissimo proposed to organize to help him command China Theater. The United States nominated Stilwell, and the Chinese agreed. This then was the basic command structure of China Theater, which was geographically synonymous with China. The Generalissimo was Supreme Commander; all United Nations forces in China Theater were under him, while he in turn was answerable to himself alone, in no way subject to any other officer or agency of the United Nations. Gen. Ho Ying-chin was Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army while General Stilwell was the Generalissimo's joint (Allied) chief of staff for China Theater. The Chinese were not willing to let Stilwell have a staff to help him carry out his duties as joint chief of staff to the Generalissimo, so Stilwell tried to perform them himself with the aid of an interpreter and a stenographer. And since Stilwell took this course, his American subordinates were often not aware of his plans for China Theater.

Believing that the Chinese Army was not an effective fighting force, the War Department ordered Stilwell "to assist in improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army." In endeavoring to carry out this mission, Stilwell, after he arrived in China in March 1942, met with little interest or co-operation from the Chinese Government. An undeclared truce existed along the front, broken occasionally when the Japanese forces advanced to break up Chinese troop concentrations or to train their own troops. On such occasions, the Chinese fell back, then reoccupied their former positions when the Japanese retired. In September 1943 Stilwell told the Generalissimo that many of the 300 divisions on the Chinese order of battle had never been in combat. About thirty Chinese divisions were commanded by officers whose loyalties were primarily to the Generalissimo; the others were loyal to local war lords or provincial


governors. Of matériel, the Chinese said they had about 1,000,000 rifles, 83,000 machine guns, and 7,800 trench mortars. Artillery was so widely dispersed that no division had enough, but there were about 1,330 cannon in China of diverse calibers and origins. Units were far below strength; soldiers were unpaid, poorly fed, and poorly clad; the diseases that accompany malnutrition and insanitary camps were rampant. The Chinese had not succeeded in creating a services of supply; consequently, troop movements were made only with the most extreme difficulty, for trucks and motor fuel were almost nonexistent in China and there was no organization for keeping up a steady flow of rations to troops on the march. In his memorandums and staff studies Stilwell always described the Chinese Army as "immobile."

After the Japanese occupied Burma in May 1942 and destroyed the last line of communications between China and her Allies, Stilwell faced a problem that required a multiple solution if he was to carry out his orders from Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, "to support China."

The solution that Stilwell proposed to the Chinese, British, and U.S. Governments in May and June 1942 was to form within the Chinese Army an elite force of full-strength, well-fed, competently led and well-trained divisions, the gaps in whose equipment would be made good by lend-lease aid. To bring artillery, small arms ammunition, shells, trucks, and spare parts into China, Stilwell proposed to retake all Burma and reopen the line of communications from Rangoon to Kunming. Once this had been done, and a powerful Chinese Army, supported by an adequate line of communications, had been created, then Stilwell (and Marshall) believed the time would be at hand for a powerful air offensive against Japan that would deal punishing blows to the Japanese homeland itself. While these proposals were being considered by the several governments, Stilwell in July 1942 organized the U.S. air force and service troops in China, Burma, and India into an American theater of operations, "U.S. Army Forces in China, Burma and India."

From May 1942 to October 1943 Stilwell, with earnest support from General Marshall and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, urged his proposals on the Generalissimo. In Washington, Marshall and Stimson sought to enlist the President's aid. The basic factor controlling the support that Stilwell's American superiors would extend to his efforts to assist China was the American decision to make the principal U.S. effort in the Atlantic area. Stilwell's theater, therefore, with the exception of transport aircraft, received little in the way of supplies and manpower from the United States; to a great degree Stilwell was left to carry out his mission with what resources he could conjure up in China and India.

Some progress was made toward creating a better Chinese Army. Detailed plans were made to assemble thirty reorganized and re-equipped Chinese divisions in Yunnan, and thirty more in east China. An infantry and artillery training


program in Yunnan was begun in March 1943. The nucleus of an American liaison staff was set up for the Yunnan divisions, or Y-Force as they came to be called. But every step of the way Stilwell and his subordinates had to cope with what they believed to be apathy and indifference on the part of the Chinese.

After a brief period in the fall of 1942, when it appeared that the Generalissimo might be actively interested in reforming a major portion of the Chinese Army and joining in an offensive to retake Burma, he stated that operations in Burma in March 1943 could not be undertaken and invited attention to what might be done in China by a small, effective air force.

The commander of the Fourteenth U.S. Air Force in China, Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, believed that Stilwell, by concentrating on reform of the Chinese Army and reopening of the ground lines of communications to China, was compromising a great opportunity to deal heavy and immediate blows against the Japanese by air. Chafing at the restrictions placed on him by the small amount of supplies then being flown into China from India, General Chennault in October 1942 finally put his case directly before the President. He told Roosevelt that with 105 fighters, 35 medium bombers, and 12 heavy bombers, he could open the way for the defeat of Japan. By March 1943 Roosevelt gave unmistakable indication that he supported Chennault rather than Stilwell.

At the TRIDENT Conference in Washington during May 1943, the divergent trends in U.S. policy finally came into the open. The Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, China Theater, asked the President to give Chennault the logistical support that officer said would suffice. The President agreed, and Chennault received first priority on supplies flown into China. The War Department advised against giving first priority to Chennault, because it feared that if the Japanese were provoked by Chennault's air offensive they would sweep over the east China bases from which the Fourteenth Air Force operated. The Generalissimo, however, gave Roosevelt his personal assurance that the existing Chinese forces could defend the east China airfields.

The second major development at the TRIDENT Conference was that the Combined Chiefs of Staff decided not to attempt the reconquest of all Burma in the near future but rather to reoccupy north Burma only. Such a limited campaign meant that in lieu of what might come through Rangoon and over the old Burma Road, supplies for the Chinese Army and Chennault's air force would be confined to what could be brought across north Burma--by air until the campaign succeeded, by air, truck, and pipeline thereafter. After the TRIDENT Conference it speedily appeared that Allied resources in China-Burma-India (CBI) were insufficient to support both Chennault's air offensive and preparations to retake north Burma.

The need for a new approach to the problems of war in Asia and for adequate logistical support of Allied operations there was by then obvious. The solution put forward by the Prime Minister in June 1943 and agreed to by


Chart 1
Stilwell in the CBI Chain of Command:
December 1943-June 1944

American authority was the creation of Southeast Asia Command (SEAC) under Vice Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten as Supreme Allied Commander with Stilwell acting as his deputy. An ambitious program of engineering projects was begun. When Mountbatten visited China in October 1943 to present his new command to the Generalissimo, the latter requested that Stilwell be recalled. Though Stilwell and the Generalissimo were not on good terms, though the latter usually ignored Stilwell both personally and officially, this request came immediately after a very brief period in which the Generalissimo had shown a renewed interest in Stilwell's proposals for reform of the Chinese Army, and therefore it surprised and angered Stilwell.

The Generalissimo's request climaxed about twenty months in which Stilwell and his subordinates had sought to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. Armies do not spring from the ground fully armed and trained; months of time are required for the task of preparing them. The campaigning season was about to begin in the fall of 1943, and the months that should have been used for China's preparation were sped. On the eve of its greatest test the Chinese Army in China was little better than it had ever been, and Stilwell was convinced there was little more he personally could do in China. Henceforth, he gave most of his time and attention to command problems in India and Burma. (Charts 1 and 2)

But the diplomatic aspect of Stilwell's presence in Asia remained. His


Chart 2
Organization of U.S. Forces, China, Burma and India:
November 1943-April 1944


superiors, possibly fearing the diplomatic consequences if the Chinese learned that the U.S. Government no longer attached importance to improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army, never formally altered that as his primary mission. Instead, they tacitly acquiesced in his conclusion that there was little more he personally could do in China to carry it out, and gave him a whole series of added tasks which, as the Army Chief of Staff later admitted to Stilwell, added up to what Marshall called a "paramount mission"--one that interfered with, and bore no relation to, his existing primary mission.

Viewed as a whole, the war gave the United Nations grounds for confidence, though much hard and bitter fighting lay ahead. In the Pacific, American and Australian forces were battering through the outer Japanese defenses and by 2 November 1943 were halfway up the ladder of the Solomon Islands. Once the island barrier of the Southwest Pacific was broken, Allied task forces could range more freely among the Japanese island positions. In New Guinea, the Allied advance was almost ready to turn the barrier represented by New Britain Island. But New Britain was many, many miles from Tokyo, and at times it may have seemed that the twenty-three months since 7 December 1941 had done little to bring the Allies closer to Japan. The most immediately hopeful augury lay in that night and day the dockyard crews at Pearl Harbor were putting oil and water, shells and fuel, into spanking-new aircraft carriers, destroyers, and cruisers, on landing craft and transports; that Infantry and Marine officers were intently studying maps of the central Pacific. Occupation of key points in the Gilbert Islands, Operation GALVANIC, was imminent.

In the Mediterranean, Benito Mussolini, the creator of fascism, had been ignominiously deposed on 25 July 1943, and a little more than a month later Italy surrendered to the Allies. A powerful Allied force then landed at Salerno (9 September). Eight days later southern Italy was firmly in Allied hands.

In Russia, the Germans were retreating. In the summer of 1941 and again in that of 1942 the Germans had scored flashy victories without being able to strike a decisive blow. On 5 July 1943, they opened their annual summer offensive on the central front in Russia. In ten days the offensive had been halted and the Red Army seized an initiative it never thereafter lost. By November 1943 Russia could begin to look forward to the day when the last German would be driven from Russian soil; remembering the Russo-German Pact of 1939, the British Commonwealth and the United States might wonder what form Soviet policy would take in that event.

In northwestern Europe, there was as yet no action on the ground, but night and day the bombing fleets flew from England to Germany, cascaded out their tons of fire and steel, and returned less what toll the defense took. At sea the submarine menace, which had so hobbled Allied strategy in 1941, 1942, and early 1943, was under control. So men and matériel were accumulating in England, and Anglo-American capabilities for a cross-Channel assault were steadily improving.


Of the three enemy states--Germany, Italy, and Japan--only Italy had as yet been invaded, and Germany and Japan still sheltered behind their outer defenses. In the case of Germany, the bombers were flying over the defenses, but in the case of Japan, systematic bombing of the Japanese homeland was as yet only a project for the future. China's geographic position, China's assumed resources in manpower, might still play a great, perhaps a decisive, role in the forthcoming attacks on Japan. How these Chinese resources could be brought to bear and the extent of British and American dependence on them for victory in the Pacific were among the major problems requiring solution in October 1943.

Combined Chiefs Order a North Burma Campaign

Stilwell began concentrating on his command problems about 23 October 1943, when he and his immediate superior for operations in Burma, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, arrived in India after conferences with the Generalissimo in Chungking.1 Stilwell's first task was to aid Mountbatten in the preparation of a plan for operations in Burma to carry out the directives of the TRIDENT and QUADRANT (Quebec, August 1943) Conferences.2 With the lifting of the monsoon rains in Burma, the campaign season was at hand, and the time had come to break the blockade of China in the way prescribed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff:

  1. to carry out operations for the capture of Upper Burma in order to improve the air route and establish overland communications with China. Target date: mid-February, 1944.

  2. to continue to build up and increase the air routes and air supplies of China, and the development of air facilities with a view to:

    1. Keeping China in the war.

    2. Intensifying operations against the Japanese.

    3. Maintaining increased U.S. and Chinese Air Forces in China.

    4. Equipping Chinese ground forces.3

The Myitkyina-Mogaung area of north Burma acquired great importance because of this directive. In the first place, its geographic position at the southern tip of the hump of mountains over which the transports flew from India to China meant that its capture would greatly improve the air route to China. As long as the Japanese held the Myitkyina airstrips, the threat of their fighters forced the U.S. aircraft to fly far to the north, then to swing south to the Kunming air terminals. This increased fuel


consumption and cut the pay load. The air route itself was narrow, and its saturation with transports sometime in the near future was predicted. "With Myitkyina in Allied possession the transports would be able to use a much wider, lower air route.4

Secondly, since fall 1942 the U.S. engineers had been building a road south from Ledo, Assam, which was intended to cross north Burma and ultimately link with the old Burma Road. The Hukawng and Mogaung valleys, down which the Ledo Road was being constructed, enter the Irrawaddy valley, which is the most habitable part of north and central Burma, within a few miles of the Myitkyina-Mogaung area. Both towns are on the rail and road net of prewar Burma, so when the Ledo Road reached them the engineering problem would become one of improving existing facilities rather than constructing new ones in the virgin wilderness. Therefore, taking the Myitkyina-Mogaung area was the prerequisite to completing the Ledo Road and opening a ground line of communications, with an all-weather road and a gasoline pipeline, to China.

The purpose of the projected ground line of communications to China was not to supply the Chinese armies or sustain the Chinese economy; a road and a pipeline cannot support 300 divisions in combat or sustain the life of several hundred millions of people. A two-way, all-weather road to China, which was then contemplated, would, the Army Service Forces believed in the fall of 1943, permit the ultimate delivery of 65,000 tons a month to Kunming. Vehicles, artillery, and small arms ammunition from this tonnage would enable Stilwell to fill the gaps in the equipment of such Chinese divisions as the Generalissimo might permit him to train and bring to full strength.5 Once revitalized, these divisions might, if the Generalissimo concurred, seize a port on the Chinese coast and secure airfields from which Japan could be systematically and heavily bombed.

Normally, planning precedes logistical preparation, and logistical preparation, fighting. One of the noteworthy aspects of the North Burma Campaign of 1943-44 is that the logistical preparations, the planning, and the fighting proceeded simultaneously. The troops moved forward before the commanders agreed on their plans, and the logistical preparations were months in being completed.


Map 1
India-China Communications System
October 1943-October 1944

Improving the Lines of Communications

The QUADRANT Conference, held at Quebec in August 1943, resulted in an ambitious list of engineering projects for India and Burma to increase the movement of supplies from Calcutta to China. (Map 1)

  1. An increase in the amount of air cargo being flown to China by the Air Transport Command (ATC) to 20,000 tons a month by mid-1944

  2. A road from India to China (the Ledo Road) with an initial (January 1945) capacity of 30,000 tons per month

  3. A gasoline pipeline from Assam via Fort Hertz in northernmost Burma to Kunming

  4. A thin-walled 6-inch pipeline from Calcutta to Assam Province to supply the Air Transport Command airfields there

  5. A thin-walled 6-inch pipeline to China

  6. An American-operated barge line on the Brahmaputra River to bring supplies forward from the great port of Calcutta to the Allied bases in Assam

  7. Improvement of the Bengal and Assam Railway6

Basic to this program was the realization that many of the difficulties hobbling the Allied effort in Asia sprang from the fact that the line of communications from Calcutta to the airfields and storage depots of Assam could not bring supplies forward in sufficient quantity to support a major effort in the air and another on the ground. To General Headquarters (India), which was responsible for logistical support of the British and India forces on the border of Burma, Lt. Gen. William J. Slim, commanding the Fourteenth Army, wrote on 30 October 1943:

The supply situation as regards certain commodities in the Army area is so serious that I consider it will affect active operations and should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the Commander-in-chief [Gen. Sir Claude J. E. Auchinleck] and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief 11 Army Group [Gen. Sir George Giffard]. . . . In general terms, instead of holding a tonnage of 65,000 tons which is the target for the supply depot in the area, only some 47,000 tons were held on 26 Oct 43, thereby giving an over-all [Slim's italics] deficiency of 27%. . . .

Taking up the supply situation area by area, General Slim noted that in the Arakan district of Burma there was no hay for animal transport or clarified butter in forward areas. In the area forward of the Manipur Road British troops had no meat, nor were authorized substitutes available. For Indian troops in the same vicinity there was no meat, no milk, no butter, the latter two staple items of the Indian diet. Moreover, when tinned foods did come forward, often 50 percent was spoiled. Therefore, "in 4 Corps area the medical authorities have already reported that troops are suffering from malnutrition."7 Admiral


Mountbatten was keenly aware of the intimate connection between the Assam line of communications and the prospects of victory and placed improvement of the Bengal and Assam Railway very high on his agenda.8

Vital though it was, the Bengal and Assam Railway was but part of the Assam line of communications. The major factors lessening the efficiency of the line of communications were (1) the congested port of Calcutta, through which supplies for Assam and China entered India; (2) the inefficient rail lines and barge lines which moved them forward; (3) the civilian agencies of the Government of India which controlled the flow of goods and personnel over the line of communications. In point of time, the railway was considered first, but ultimately each of the three factors above had to be appropriately handled, and gasoline pipelines constructed, before a satisfactory solution could be reached.

As a depressing backdrop to the war effort in Bengal, famine racked that great province, in which lay the all-important harbor of Calcutta. The rice crop of 1943 had failed to meet the demands on it; the little skiffs and luggers that plied the intricate Bengal waterways in peacetime had been destroyed by British authority in 1942 for fear of a Japanese invasion, and the Japanese occupation of Burma had effectively cut off a major source of Indian rice. Before the famine ended, more than 1,000,000 Bengalis died. The famine held full and horrible sway in the fall of 1943; it was a heavy added burden on the already strained provincial and central authorities, whose reactions to the needs of war along India's eastern frontier must be judged against the emergent needs of India herself.

On 23 October when Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell visited India, the American supply expert volunteered to provide U.S. railway troops to assume some of the burdens of operating the Bengal and Assam Railway. His offer began a discussion between interested agencies of the Government of India and SEAC. As a result of the initial exchanges the director of transportation of General Headquarters (India) and the general manager of the railway made a rapid survey of the problems that would be created if Americans helped to operate key sections of the line. Their report agreed to U.S. assistance. The Government of India was guided accordingly, accepting it on 6 November, and on 10 November CBI Theater told the War Department that accord had reached the point at which details were being discussed.9

Anticipating such success, General Somervell, Maj. Gen. Charles P. Gross, Chief of Transportation, Maj. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, Commanding General, Services of Supply, CBI, and their staffs had earlier agreed on the nature of the troops required. Wheeler alerted the War Department when the Government of India's acquiescence appeared reasonably certain, and so the actual movement followed quickly on India's agreement. Orders were issued on 16 November to the 705th Railway Grand Division, the 758th Railway Shop


Battalion, and the 721st, 725th, 726th, 745th, and 748th Railway Operating Battalions. Each battalion was less its maintenance of way company, for the use of Indian labor was contemplated. Col. John A. Appleton, former general manager of the New York zone of the Pennsylvania Railroad, arrived in India on 16 November as a member of the Appleton-Inglis Railway Mission. He was known to be the War Department's choice for the post of director of the proposed Military Railway Service.10

Therefore, as of mid-November 1943 it was agreed by all concerned that American troops would assist in operating certain key sections of the Bengal and Assam Railway. Exact definition of the sections and the conditions of operation were being negotiated, and the troop movement was under way.

A factor in these negotiations was the report submitted by Col. Paul F. Yount, of the Transportation Corps. Sent by Somervell from Iran, where he had succeeded in increasing the amount of tonnage carried by the Iranian rail system to 500 percent above prewar standards, Yount made a rapid reconnaissance of the Bengal and Assam Railway. His report of 10 November strongly suggested that more efficient and more vigorous operating methods, rather than the tedious processes of rebuilding the railway, would bring a sharp and immediate increase in the tonnage carried.11 The greatest deficiency, he believed, was lack of an aggressive, adequate supervisory staff between management and actual operating personnel.

Mid-November saw major personnel changes among the men guiding the logistic effort. General Wheeler, chosen by Admiral Mountbatten to "push" improvements in the transportation system, became principal administrative officer of SEAC on 15 November. Lt. Gen. Sir Wilfred Lindsell, offered for the same post by Gen. Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, became instead principal administrative officer for Gen. Sir Claude J. E. Auchinleck's India Command. General Wheeler was succeeded in command of the SOS, CBI, by Maj. Gen. William E. R. Covell.12

At the extreme northeastern end of the vital railway line, construction of the Ledo Road was resumed as the end of the rains and the gradual drying of the ground permitted work to begin. The 849th and 1883d Engineer Aviation Battalions and the 382d Engineer Battalion (Separate) had arrived in September to reinforce the road builders. On 17 October Col. Lewis A. Pick assumed command of the road project as commanding officer of Base Section No. 3. Before coming to CBI, Colonel Pick had been division engineer of the Missouri River Division, Omaha, Nebraska, and had drawn up the Pick Plan of Missouri River flood control. Three more units arrived in November: the 45th Quartermaster


Regiment, the 209th Combat Engineer Battalion, and the 1905th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

From the end of October to the end of November, the lead bulldozer advanced over twenty-two miles, to mile 82.35 from Ledo. To speed construction, three bulldozers left the village of Nawngyang on 28 August to make their way over a trail, once used by the refugees fleeing Burma in 1942, to the village of Namlip Sakan, which lay on the trace of the Ledo Road. Progress was extremely difficult, but the dozer crews brought their machines through the monsoon rains to their goal on 5 October 1943. From Namlip Sakan they began cutting trail in both directions, back toward Ledo and forward into Burma. With dry weather from late October, actual road construction, as distinguished from clearing the way, made good progress. Anticipating that the road would soon be through the mountain barrier into the Hukawng Valley, Colonel Pick sent nineteen men ahead to the village of Shingbwiyang (mile 103 from Ledo on the southern end of the Patkai Range) to establish a supply depot for the first truck convoy. At Shingbwiyang Pick's little supply detachment was about one third of the way to Myitkyina.13

Surveying the engineering projects on 1 November, the SOS chief engineer told General Somervell that better progress would be made with the Ledo Road once the men and machinery on requisition were deployed south of Shingbwiyang, but he warned, "Over-optimism on road construction, if more evidence is needed than that furnished at Ledo, and on road capacity, would not be indulged in if the true lessons of the Alcan and Pan American Highways were generally known."14 Somervell believed that the Ledo Road would reach Pao-shan, China, by 1 November 1944, an estimate which was, of course, an engineering one since no one could foresee just when the Japanese would be driven from the trace of the Ledo Road.15

In November the construction of pipelines that would ultimately stretch from India to China began. Shortly after the QUADRANT Conference theater authorities had decided to abandon the Fort Hertz pipeline. Proponents of this route had long argued that constructing a pipeline by this short route might be enough when added to the Hump airlift to support the Fourteenth Air Force on an ample scale. The mountainous terrain the Fort Hertz line would have to cross was a powerful argument against the project.16 Four other reasons influenced abandoning the project for which such hopes had once been entertained: (1) it was not possible to bring men and matériel to CBI Theater as early as they would be needed; (2) the Assam line of communications was congested and would not permit bringing matériel forward as rapidly as needed; (3) it


was feared that unavailable heavy-walled pipe would be needed for the line; and finally, (4) a parallel road would be necessary to maintain the line.

Instead of the Fort Hertz pipeline, a thin-walled 4-inch pipeline would be built parallel to the Ledo Road. Thin-walled pipe was air transportable, and so the line could be built from both ends toward a meeting somewhere in Burma. As soon as possible a second line was to be laid from India, using heavier pipe where advisable, so that ultimately there would be two pipelines from India to China, one carrying aviation gas for the ATC and the Fourteenth Air Force and one carrying truck fuel. Construction began in November.17

The 6-inch pipelines from tanker terminals in Bengal to Assam were properly part of the Assam line of communications; their building presented no particular engineering problem. Construction of the line by eight engineer petroleum distribution companies assisted by 7,000 Indian laborers was contemplated. As 1943 ended, final preparations were being made to begin the work in January 1944.18

The B-29 Project Approved

A new burden was added to the already overstrained China-Burma-India logistical structure in fall 1943, the B-29's of the XX Bomber Command. In August 1943 the Army Air Forces (AAF) planners had suggested bombing Japan into submission with an enormous force of heavy bombers based in China and supported by swarms of transports flying from Indian bases.19 Asked to comment, Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, pointed out that in order to support the AAF plan the port of Calcutta would require tremendous expansion, communications on a grand scale would have to be installed, north Burma would have to be cleared by 1 July 1944, and a variety of other Herculean projects would have to be successfully completed by that early date. As a substitute plan Stratemeyer's staff offered TWILIGHT.20

TWILIGHT assumed that north Burma would be free of Japanese by 1 July 1944 so that the Ledo Road might speedily go through to China, and further that the Chinese and Fourteenth Air Forces could by 1 November 1944 be made strong enough to hold the east China airfields against Japanese attack. TWILIGHT's original contribution to the development of strategy in China-Burma-India was its suggestion that the B-29's be based in the Calcutta area and staged through Chinese bases to attack Japan. Stratemeyer's planners believed that 412 transports could support 280 B-29's by hauling their supplies to the Chinese bases, and that TWILIGHT would destroy Japan's ability to resist.


Examining TWILIGHT, the Operations Division of the War Department remarked that the concept of staging India-based bombers through China offered the only hope of bombing Japan from Chinese bases in March and April 1944 without major interference with other operations in CBI and with a high degree of security from a Japanese ground reaction. The Operations Division understood that Cheng-tu in west China would be the B-29 China base. Consistent with the views it had expressed when the President was approving Chennault's plans in May 1943, the Operations Division feared that a major Japanese reaction would overrun the Kweilin-Changsha Fourteenth Air Force bases in east China if the B-29's were based there. In the light of the foregoing factors, the China-India Section of the Theater Group, Operations Division, and the Strategy and Policy Group, Operations Division, both recommended that the B-29 project for CBI be pushed to completion with bases at Cheng-tu and Calcutta.21

TWILIGHT's conception of the B-29's had been that of a club, bludgeoning Japan into submission. In November 1943 the idea grew in Washington that the air weapons could be used like a stiletto, striking the vital spots with a few skilled blows. The Japanese coke ovens seemed to offer a wonderful target. If they were destroyed, surely the Japanese steel industry would be crippled. In the fall of 1943 the Foreign Economic Administration, the Committee of Operations Analysts, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agreed in believing that the Japanese steel industry was producing to the limit of its capacity, which the analysts set at about 13,690,000 tons annually, an accurate estimate, for 13,970,000 tons was correct. However, they erred in believing Japan's steel industry was producing at capacity, for it was not, by 5,138,000 tons. Shortage of raw materials, not shortage of plant, was hobbling the Japanese. Therefore, attacks on steel plant facilities had to destroy 5,000,000 tons capacity before they cut current Japanese steel production.

Fourteenth Air Force attacks on Yangtze River iron-ore carriers were directly cutting Japanese steel production, but this was not realized at the time. The highly publicized attack on Japanese ocean shipping, for which such claims had been made and such hopes entertained, was relatively minor in its effects, while the routine missions against river shipping were hitting home. They were mainly responsible for cutting down Japanese imports of iron ore from 2,200,000 tons in the first half of 1943 to 1,150,000 tons in the first half of 1944. But this was not appreciated in Washington or in China.22

When the proposal to base the B-29's in India, stage them through China,


and bomb Japan's coking facilities was laid before the President, he accepted it with enthusiasm. Approving it in early November 1943, he at once sought the co-operation of the British Commonwealth and China. Telling Churchill that Japan's steel industry was strained to the limit, the President stated that the B-29's could destroy half of the coke ovens supporting Japan's steel production and so partially cripple the Japanese. Churchill was asked to give all possible aid in building four airfields in the Calcutta area. To the Generalissimo, Roosevelt sent word that five airfields with limited facilities would be needed in the Cheng-tu area by 1 March 1944. He offered to give the Chinese necessary engineering supervision, supplemented by lend-lease funds if the Chinese would supply labor and materials.23

The President's initiative, regarded as "approval in principle," started the wheels turning, though passage of the concept through the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) machinery was still to come. In anticipation of JCS and CCS action, engineer aviation battalions and dump truck companies which would be needed to build the Indian airfields were alerted for shipment. Their movement orders were issued on 14 November, and the first project personnel arrived in India on 24 November 1943. TWILIGHT was reduced in scale by the provision that the B-29's would carry their own supplies to China, thus eliminating the 400 transport aircraft. It was intended that they should not be a burden on the Hump airlift. This then was the final edition of the plan to defeat Japan that the AAF had offered at QUADRANT: MATTERHORN--a self-supporting task force of B-29's, based on India, staged through China, was to cripple Japan's steel industry.24

Learning of the B-29 project, Stilwell wrote: "FDR has undercut me again. Told PEANUT [the Generalissimo] all about TWILIGHT, so I can't bargain on that."25

The reference was to Stilwell's and the War Department's consistent view that any American initiative in CBI should adopt a quid pro quo or bargaining technique. The President's military advisers had urged that American aid be given to the Chinese only to the degree that they agreed to help themselves. In March 1943 the President explicitly rejected the bargaining approach to China's problems. Stilwell believed that the President's rejection greatly handicapped him in dealing with the Chinese, and that it was one of the reasons he could not persuade the Generalissimo to reform his Army.26


Chennault's Operations

The autumn months of 1943 found the Fourteenth Air Force behind the schedule set for it by the Chennault Plan of May 1943, because the plan had been put into operation before its logistical requirements were on hand. General Chennault had proposed to gain air superiority in China in August 1943, then to attack Japanese ocean shipping, and in the last phase to use B-24's for strategic bombing of Formosa, the Shanghai-Nanking-Hankow triangle, and Japan itself. To do this, which he thought would force the Japanese in six months to begin abandoning their outlying Pacific holdings, he requested 150 fighters, 48 B-25's, and 35 B-24's, plus photo reconnaissance craft. For supply, he asked 4,790 tons per month from July to September, and 7,129 tons monthly thereafter. At TRIDENT, Washington, May 1943, the President gave him first priority on Hump tonnage for a limited time.27

Events did not go as Chennault had hoped. Reinforcements were slow in reaching him. Hump tonnage deliveries were not in the quantities contemplated at TRIDENT. The Japanese reacted vigorously, and flying weather was often bad. Chennault felt profoundly discouraged as his long-sought opportunity seemed to be slipping from him.

Then in September 1943 the picture brightened. Hump tonnage (all carriers) improved from the 5,674 tons of August to 6,719 tons in September and rose to 8,632 tons in October. From these monthly deliveries the Fourteenth Air Force received 3,038 tons, 4,575 tons, and 4,225 tons, respectively. Reinforcements arrived for the Fourteenth Air Force, and it swiftly began to change from the semiguerrilla force of earlier days to a powerful weapon, whose subordinate commands had area assignments. Arrival of the 25th and 26th Fighter Squadrons in October reunited the 51st Group. Chennault was then able to put fighters on a string of fields from Heng-yang to Kweilin in the Hsiang valley. Some missions were on occasion staged through newer fields 200 miles east of Kweilin. Sixteen P-51's, battered but still flyable, joined Chennault. Because his air-raid net and newly formed radio intelligence teams were working better than ever, Chennault found his fighter pilots spending more and more time over the Japanese bases in central China. Air superiority was changing hands, and perhaps, not too late in the day.28

Thanks to the arrival of B-25 pilots well schooled in skip-bombing tactics (first publicly demonstrated in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-6 March 1943) and the wide dissemination of the technique among Chennault's crews, the 11th Bombardment Squadron (M) and the 2d Bombardment Squadron (Chinese-American Composite Wing) intensified the antishipping campaign. During October, the Fourteenth Air Force sank about 5,000 tons, and 17,372


tons in November. Simultaneously, the Japanese stirrings in northeast Burma that preceded the enemy drive on India gave the 308th Bombardment Group (H) a chance to drop bombs on Burmese targets while it engaged in its routine ferrying of supplies.29

The Fourteenth Air Force was now just able to reach beyond China's borders for a few blows at Japan or Formosa. Heavy bombers and long-range fighters were on hand. Staging fields near the coast were ready, and one of them, Suichuan, was stocked to permit a mission or two to be flown from it against Kyushu or Formosa. On 31 October a photographic reconnaissance aircraft from Suichuan photographed a major Japanese shipping concentration in the Sasebo-Nagasaki area. Chennault at once asked Stilwell for permission to strike it, and Stilwell as promptly relayed the question to Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces.30 Arnold congratulated Chennault on his aggressive spirit, but forbade attacks on Japan. Presumably, he did not desire to alert the Japanese home defenses by a few sporadic attacks when the B-29's were being prepared for a sustained effort.31

Though greatly disappointed because it was ordered to avoid Japan, and by implication also ordered to omit Phase III of the Chennault Plan, the Fourteenth Air Force immediately settled on Shinchiku, Formosa, site of a bomber-modification factory and a combat training center, as an alternate target. On Thanksgiving Day, in a meticulously planned, precisely executed tactical demonstration that lasted twelve minutes, 8 P-51A's, 12 B-25's, and 8 P-38's scored 42 Japanese aircraft in one pass over the target. Exploiting the Japanese embarrassment, B-25's, working in pairs, employed their skip-bombing tactics to account for several cargo ships in the Formosa Strait during the next fortnight.32

By November the concentration of aircraft strength in east China brought into sharp focus the long-neglected line of communications from Kunming eastward to the Hsiang valley fields and beyond. November saw the Fourteenth Air Force receive tonnage at a level (4,700 tons) that Chennault had hoped to see achieved six months before. But tonnage at Kunming was just the beginning. The line of communications from Kunming to Chennault's forward fields, the eastern line of communications (known in CBI as the ELOC), was


a bottleneck. Currently operated by the Chinese--for it will be recalled the Generalissimo was Supreme Commander, China Theater, and U.S. resources in China were limited to what came over the Hump--the ELOC's estimated capacity of 1,500 tons a month barely supported two fighter squadrons in east China from May 1943 on. Now, with three more fighter and two medium bomber squadrons in east China, the ELOC had to increase its capacity, and Chennault commenced to stress its problems.33

Chennault's attack on Formosa had been made while several staff officers from China Expeditionary Army, Lt. Gen. Shunroku Hata commanding, had been visiting Imperial General Headquarters to prepare and co-ordinate future plans. With the campaign in the Solomons and New Guinea running against the Japanese, Imperial General Headquarters had rejected a plan to destroy the Generalissimo's government that General Hata had proposed. Instead it had told his representative about 17 October that beginning in December 1943 the Japanese 3d, 13th, 52d, 22d, 35th, and 36th Divisions would be sent from China to face the Americans in the Pacific, and that in the spring and summer of 1944 five more of Hata's divisions would assemble in their present occupational areas to form Imperial General Headquarters' general reserve. Hata, as of 1 August 1943, had 620,000 men, formed into 1 armored and 25 infantry divisions, plus 12 brigades (of five infantry battalions each). Of the 25 infantry divisions, 5 were Class A, with three battalions of artillery (36 cannon), 5 were Class B, with two battalions of artillery (24 cannon), and the remaining 15 divisions had no artillery. The projected transfers would take away 4 of Hata's Class A divisions, 1 Class B division, and 1 Class C division. This would cut deeply into Hata's strength, for the replacements would be raw troops that he would have to organize and train as units. So the mission Hata was now given probably reflected an appraisal of his current situation. He was ordered in October 1943 ". . . to maintain security in the occupied areas. Enemy air forces were to be attacked at all times in order to prevent their making raids on the Japanese mainland."

In November, Hata's liaison officers were told, by the Chief of the General Staff among others, that the Allied air force in China was disturbing Japanese sea communications and had to be neutralized or destroyed. Then came Chennault's Thanksgiving Day attack on Formosa. A staff officer of China Expeditionary Army, returning to his post in China 3 December 1943, told Hata that Imperial General Headquarters was "very disturbed" by the attack on Formosa and had begun to study the advisability of destroying the Allied airfields in east China and reopening the Canton-Hankow railway.34

Imperial General Headquarters soon decided to call a halt to the current Japanese operations in China, which had been launched early in October. A few


weeks before the attack on Formosa the Japanese 11th Army had been moving across the Tung-ting Lake area toward Chang-te. Its ostensible mission was to disrupt Chinese troop concentrations in the VI and IX War Areas and to divert Chinese forces from Yunnan, but the primary objective was to seize rice. Under cover of bad weather, the 11th Army had completed its approach while the Fourteenth Air Force was forced to remain on the ground. When the weather cleared at the end of November, fighter squadrons at Heng-yang and Ling-ling had been on constant call to support the Chinese divisions defending Chang-te. On 4 December Chang-te fell, but apart from its value as a rice center the town held no further attraction for 11th Army. Once the VI and IX War Areas had been shaken up, the 11th Army withdrew. Imperial General Headquarters had a more important mission for it and wanted the 11th to take its place in the mass of maneuver Tokyo now decided to assemble.

As the last shots were being fired around Chang-te, the highest officers in Imperial General Headquarters, the War Ministry, and the Naval General Staff were watching or actively participating in far-reaching map maneuvers, bearing the code name TORA. TORA was planned to test current hypotheses on the intentions and capabilities of Japan's enemies, to suggest a strategy with which to counter American plans in the Pacific, and to examine "the merits, the planning, and the military strength" involved in taking Kweilin and Liuchow in east China. When TORA ended it was agreed to take the east China air bases and thereby "check" Allied air attacks from China. Plans and preparations were soon under way.35

The battles around Chang-te were most significant in the Fourteenth Air Force's analysis of its position in China. Operations over Burma in 1942 convinced the Fourteenth Air Force in May that air power had kept the Japanese from crossing the Salween. It further believed that its later sweeps over Burma had so disrupted their supply system that the Japanese were unable to prepare an offensive across the Salween. However, the Japanese had not contemplated crossing the Salween. In May 1943 the Fourteenth Air Force had supported the Chinese troops along the I-chang Gorge. The Japanese had fallen back from their most advanced positions, and Chennault had claimed a decisive victory. Again, the Fourteenth Air Force's intelligence had misread the Japanese plans. Now, after Chang-te, the Fourteenth Air Force believed that it had created a successful technique for tactical air support of Gen. Hsueh Yueh's IX War Area troops. Close co-operation between the Fourteenth Air Force and General Hsueh was important because his war area guarded the northern approaches


to Chennault's fields. The seeming success of combined Sino-American operations before Chang-te moved the Chinese to permit the Fourteenth Air Force to expand its radio and intelligence net within the IX War Area.36

Chennault's Proposals for 1944

Chennault had been present in October 1943 when Mountbatten, Stilwell, and the Generalissimo discussed the QUADRANT decisions on breaking the blockade of China. It appeared to him that "no definite decisions had been reached with respect to the Burma campaign." Such a campaign would, he thought, make it very difficult to launch his 1944 China offensive and so he again hastened to present his case to his Army superiors before, in his opinion, the United Nations were firmly committed to the Burma campaign. Chennault also appealed to the President, telling him that it had been impossible for the Fourteenth Air Force to launch an effective air offensive in 1943. Only now were his reinforcements coming forward.37

The Chennault proposals of October 1943 were basically similar to those of the previous April, but there was one interesting addition.38 If the Generalissimo was prepared to contemplate an offensive by the Chinese Army against Hankow or Canton, the necessary tactical air support operations could be meshed into the over-all plan. Where the April proposals had of necessity been hastily drafted by Chennault en route to the TRIDENT Conference, those of October showed a good deal of careful preliminary staff work. It was most notable that the line of communications to the Fourteenth Air Force's fields had been carefully studied, and that detailed suggestions for its improvement were included. In April, this aspect had been omitted.

For operational purposes, Chennault divided China into eastern and western areas, on the line of the 108th meridian. Weather phases in the two areas are markedly different and influence the timing of operations. From January to June, weather is good in the west, then grows steadily worse in summer. In the east, flying weather is good from July to December. Therefore, from January to June, Chennault proposed to fly most of his missions in west China in support of the Burma campaign and in defense of the Hump airfields. From July to December he would concentrate on the goals he had so often set forth,


destruction of Japanese air power and merchant shipping. Perhaps, in these provisions, Chennault was offering a compromise to Stilwell, in line with the promise he made in October to support Stilwell's plans.

To supply his 1944 operations, Chennault asked for:

  Eastern Area Western Area
  (Tons) (Tons)
January 1900 6900
February 2100 6900
March 2300 6900
April 2700 5400
May 4500 3400
June 6200 2700

In addition, Chennault wanted a reserve of 20,000 tons accumulated in east China before his operations opened up in full scale, which was to be in July. To acquire these supplies, Hump tonnage would have to average 12,000 tons in the first six months of 1944, and the Fourteenth Air Force receive every pound of it. The plan stressed the importance of insuring delivery of supplies to the east China bases and gave a carefully worked out plan to insure this. Improvement of the eastern line of communications was estimated to require an initial 4,000 tons over the Hump in January 1944 plus 500 tons a month for the rest of the year. For aircraft, Chennault wanted by fall of 1944 to have 6 fighter groups, 2 medium bomber groups, and 3 heavy bomber groups.39

Chennault dismissed the possibility of a Japanese ground attack on his air bases:

  1. Previous proposals for a China Air Offensive have been objected to, on the grounds that "in CHINA the Japanese can go anywhere and take any objective they want," and can therefore capture and destroy our airbases. This theory is not founded on fact, for the following reasons:

    1. The proponents of the theory think exclusively in terms of a time when the Japanese domination of the air was rarely challenged by a single Chinese aircraft. In the event that plans for a China Air Offensive are approved, the Allied armies will have air supremacy on their side. Chinese troops have shown that with the encouragement of even a modicum of air support, they are far better able to withstand the Japanese. It may be presumed that Japanese troops, suddenly confronted with the transfer of air supremacy to their enemies, will also fight less well.

    2. The proponents of the theory also forget that in the whole course of the war in CHINA, the Japanese Armies have never successfully penetrated more than 100 miles beyond their major supply lines. In the CHEKIANG campaign in the winter [sic] of 1942, air bases were in fact captured. But the campaign was long, employed very considerable forces, and was fought by the Japanese with the double advantage of complete domination of the air and proximity to their supplies. Weakness of enemy supply enabled unaided Chinese troops, fighting without air support, to frustrate no less than five attempts to capture the line of railroad which formerly connected CANTON and HANKOW. Two of these attempts were made from the South and three from the North; all were in substantial and at least two were in great force.


    1. Establishment of air supremacy by a China Air Offensive will further increase the Japanese weakness of supply. More than 95 per cent of the supplies of the Japanese Armies in China from the YANGTSZE RIVER region Southward are carried inland on small, slow commonly unarmed river craft. As an experiment, traffic on the YANGTSZE RIVER has been almost totally interrupted for a period of a week with a force numbering not more than two score aircraft. With sufficient forces, adequately supplied, this interruption can be consistently maintained, on other waterways as easily as on the YANGTSZE. The enemy has no practicable substitute supply lines for operations on any scale.

Thus is it seen that a major enemy effort, both on the ground and in the air, would be necessary to attempt to interrupt a China based Air Offensive. Ships carrying personnel and equipment for such an effort into CHINA would be exposed to our land based bombardment. And to make such an effort, the Japanese would be forced to abandon essential commitments elsewhere.40

There were several mentions in the plan of possible ground operations by the Chinese to reoccupy portions of China. It was suggested that in the last six months of 1944 support might be given to Chinese troops in operations against the Canton-Hong Kong and I-chang-Hankow-Nanchang areas. After remarking tersely that "adequate Chinese ground forces must of course be maintained in the airbase areas" the plan went on to state that in the last half of 1944 "enemy garrisons in CHINA . . . will be gravely weakened" by air attacks on Japanese supply lines in China. If the Generalissimo thought Chinese ground forces "available" the Japanese garrisons in China might be attacked. If any such operations were to be undertaken, then the Chinese should be given "certain key items of equipment which the Chinese Ground Forces now lack."41

No document has been found to give Stilwell's reactions to Chennault's October 1943 proposals. However, at the time he summarized his impressions of the "net worth" of Chennault's 1943 efforts as "a few Jap planes knocked down [but] Japs are still in China."42

Appraising the plan for Admiral Mountbatten, Maj. Gen, Albert C. Wedemeyer, as SEAC's deputy chief of staff, commented that it was "essentially the same as one previously submitted by General Chennault several months ago." Wedemeyer noted that the Chennault October 1943 proposals did not allot any Hump tonnage for equipment of the Chinese armies that were to protect the east China air bases. Wedemeyer believed that Chennault greatly underestimated the tonnage he would need for his operations and that his actual requirements were in excess of the "Air Transport Command capacity with resources now in sight." In his conclusions, Wedemeyer advised Mountbatten that a "practicable" increase of the Fourteenth Air Force was highly desirable and should be supported after it had been weighed in connection with other demands. He warned that "the ASSAM line of communications and the Air Transport Command cannot support the air force visualized in the Chennault


plan and concurrently supplies for the rehabilitation of Chinese internal lines of communication and for the Chinese ground forces." In Wedemeyer's opinion, the fastest way to begin intensive air operations in China was to open a "land and/or sea route" to the Chinese airfields.43

What must be taken as the CBI Theater decision on Chennault's October 1943 proposals was the response of General Stratemeyer's headquarters, Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, on 16 November 1943. Though he liked the careful phasing of Chennault's plan, Stratemeyer in effect rejected it with the remark that "we are not yet in a position logistically to support this plan at this time [Stratemeyer's italics] from a stores or a POL [petrol, oil, lubricants] standpoint." Stratemeyer raised two points which he believed would determine the scope of Chennault's operations in 1944. Aware that Chennault's Hump priority expired 31 October, Stratemeyer told the Fourteenth Air Force commander that he could not have the Hump tonnages he wanted, and that Stilwell was contemplating a division of Hump tonnage that would provide more for the Chinese Army. Stratemeyer's second point reflected the implications of bringing the B-29's to CBI, and practically assigned second priority in air operations to the Fourteenth Air Force.

The President has indicated that the TWILIGHT plan will be carried out and has cabled Chiang Kai-shek to give it his fullest support. It is believed, therefore, that the greatest good for the War effort could be obtained if our entire resources were thrown in gear to supplement the TWILIGHT plan (including increased weather service in China) and, in addition, keep your operations rate in China against enemy shipping, defense of the air terminals and support of the Chinese ground forces at the highest rate possible under these logistical restrictions.44

Stilwell in September had wanted to readjust Hump priorities to give Chennault a flat 40 percent of Hump deliveries but Marshall had warned him to beware of the political implications of such an act.45 Now, a few weeks later, Stratemeyer signaled the end of Chennault's priorities by merely stating that Stilwell "desires" to readjust Hump priorities without explaining whether this was an order of the theater commander or had War Department sanction.46 The records available reveal no protest from Chennault or attempt to have Stratemeyer overruled by higher authority. There had been significant changes in the identity and status of those who supported Chennault's views, and the airman may have considered that without support from T. V. Soong and Madame Chiang Kai-shek he could not hope to repeat the coup of the TRIDENT Conference.47


Building an East China Army

No less than Chennault, Stilwell had a program for east China, and their competing claims on Hump tonnage did much to explain the acrimony between the two men. Like Chennault's, Stilwell's program was begun in 1942, to carry out his War Department orders to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. As part of his over-all program to rebuild the Chinese Army, Stilwell in early 1943 suggested to the Generalissimo that thirty reorganized and re-equipped Chinese divisions should be placed in east China. Stilwell received War Department support for the project, and lend-lease for the thirty divisions in east China (the "Second Thirty" they were sometimes called to distinguish them from the "First Thirty" of the Thirty Division Program or the Y-Force in Yunnan plus the Chinese Army in India). But the Chinese waited many months, in fact until after the QUADRANT Conference (August 1943), before they would consider the project.48

On 1 September, General Ho, the Chinese Army's Chief of Staff, startled Stilwell by proposing a tentative list of forty-five divisions, thinly spread from the Yellow River to the Indochinese border, from which a "C-Force" (later called ZEBRA Force) could be equipped, trained, and then shaped into a useful force. Stilwell was jubilant, and wrote: "VICTORY! That commits them to the training scheme. Subject to change, of course, but what a struggle that has been. . . . If the Japs let us alone, we may put it over!" Stilwell saw the missions of ZEBRA Force as: (1) to defend the east China airfields; (2) to drive the Japanese from the Yangtze valley; (3) to co-operate in any Allied plans to land on the China coast.49

Attempts to create the ZEBRA Force quickly revealed basic differences between the Chinese and American approaches to the problem of creating a force in east China. The Americans wanted to bring the chosen divisions up to strength, weed out incompetent officers, train the soldiers, and then issue shining new lend-lease equipment. The Chinese wanted to receive the equipment, then talk about training and reorganization. To Stilwell, this attitude toward ZEBRA Force was exactly like that the Chinese had taken toward the Yunnan divisions or Y-Force. Nevertheless, after the Generalissimo appeared more interested in Army reform and more co-operative in October 1943, Stilwell was able to send Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Arms, of the Y-Force Infantry Training Center, to establish a similar training center at Kweilin in east China. To assist in training and liaison, 2,213 officers and enlisted men were sent to CBI.50

Map 2
The Battleground



At the time, Stilwell asked the War Department to review its 8 July 1943 program for Chinese lend-lease (as distinct from the 1944 supply program). The July program assigned lend-lease to the First Thirty, but only 10 percent of the equipment needed by the ZEBRA Force, which token shipments were to be used for instructional purposes. Stilwell wanted a firm War Department commitment to arm the ZEBRA Force in full. Faced with this request, the War Department studied it in the light of the QUADRANT decisions, the limitations on the capacity of the Assam line of communications and the Hump airlift, and the emerging strategic concepts for the conduct of the war against Japan, which were beginning to set a lower value on China's co-operation. After studying the problem, the War Department decided that it would review its policy in the light of the degree of co-operation Stilwell might in the future receive from the Chinese, and reaffirmed its policy of confining its logistical support of ZEBRA Force to the 10 percent figure.51

In November and December 1943 the Chinese gave evidence of being genuinely interested in the ZEBRA Force project. The Kweilin Infantry Training Center was opened, with the Generalissimo and Gen. Pai Chung-hsi of the National Military Council as its honorary commanders. The instruction,


which followed a course approved by the Chinese, was carried on by 107 U.S. officers and 71 enlisted men. Several buildings were turned over to the training center by the Chinese, and the Americans contracted for many more.

Though infantry and artillery training was stressed, engineering, veterinary, medical, and signal courses were offered. Training equipment, initially flown from Kunming, was furnished by the U.S. Army. The infantry course lasted six weeks, of which the first three stressed weapons instruction and target practice. The last half of the course was devoted to tactics, taking the individual officer progressively to the regimental level. Eighty-nine interpreters gave invaluable aid. The student officers were placed in training regiments, each with twelve companies of 100 students per company.

After the first infantry class graduated on 15 December 1943, General Arms estimated that by 1 May 1944, 4,800 infantry officers and 2,730 officers and men from other arms and services would have graduated. Manifestly, this figure would depend upon the continued willingness of the Chinese to send students to the training center, a willingness that might not survive the War Department decision to keep equipment for ZEBRA Force at the 10 percent level.52

The Allied Command Structure in North Burma

Improvements in the Assam line of communications, the decision to place a force of B-29's in CBI, and attempts to strengthen the Allied position in east China, were, as it developed, both background and accompaniment to the premature and unscheduled opening of combat in north Burma. Certainly, the line of communications had to be renovated before the Allies could be sure of themselves, while the presence of the B-29's affected the course of things in China, but the principal event in fall 1943 was the opening of the North Burma Campaign. What had been contemplated were roughly simultaneous attacks from India and China into Burma but this was not to be.

The Allied forces in north Burma operated under a very complicated system of command. North Burma was within SEAC's boundaries, and therefore the chain of command began with the Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral Mountbatten. As acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Stilwell was second man in SEAC, but as Commanding General, Chinese Army in India, he commanded a pair of Chinese divisions which had to be fitted into the organization. Normally, as a corps commander Stilwell would have been in the chain of command which ran from Admiral Mountbatten to Gen. Sir George Giffard (General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eleventh Army Group) to General Slim (General Officer Commanding, Fourteenth Army) to Stilwell. (See Chart I.) Though Stilwell's initial reaction to Mountbatten was very favorable, he had no confidence in General Giffard and refused to occupy any place in the command structure that might permit Giffard to exercise control over his operations.


Instead, Stilwell offered to serve as a corps commander under General Slim, for whom he had the greatest faith and respect.

Stilwell's service under Slim was to continue until Stilwell's forces reached the Kamaing area, at which point he was to regain independence of action. It was assumed that when Stilwell's Chinese from Ledo reached Kamaing they would be near a juncture with Chinese troops from Yunnan Province. On joining, the two Chinese forces would be under Stilwell, who in turn would be directly under Mountbatten with no intervening echelons of command.

Informed a few weeks later of Stilwell's agreeing to forego rank and serve under a junior he admired, General Marshall offered an interesting appraisal of Stilwell on the eve of the latter's greatest triumphs as a field commander. Marshall wrote Mountbatten:

You will find, if you get below the surface, that he wants merely to get things done without delays and will ignore considerations of his own personal prestige or position so long as drive and imagination are being given to plans, preparations and operations.

Frankly, I have found him uniformly through long years of personal command relations, irritating and intolerant of slow motion, excessive caution, and cut-and-dried procedure. On the other hand, he will provide tremendous energy, courage and unlimited ingenuity and imagination to any aggressive proposals or operations. His mind is far more alert than almost any of our generals and his training and understanding are on an unusually high level. Impatience with conservatism and slow motion is his weakness--but a damned good one in this emergency.53

Stilwell's command relation to the Generalissimo in north Burma was obscure. In 1942 the Generalissimo's attitude had suggested that Stilwell would command the Chinese Army in India only until operations began. By September 1943 the most probable Chinese commander was Lt. Gen. Chen Tung-kuo, commanding the New First Army headquarters, of whom a memorandum in Stilwell's personal file stated: "This officer may be capable, but he has not yet demonstrated the fact . . . no concern about the basic needs of training, which he does not understand. He is not interested to learn from the bottom up. . . . As a matter of fact, there is no need whatever for any army staff, as long as the Chih Hui Pu exists. . . ."54 The Chinese 38th, 22d, and 30th Divisions were under the New First Army, but since that headquarters was regarded as superfluous by the Americans, Stilwell sought to have it removed from the scene. (Chart 3)

The headquarters of the Chinese Army in India was potentially Stilwell's field headquarters, though Brig. Gen. Haydon L. Boatner, chief of staff and deputy commander of the Chinese Army in India, was in charge. The staff was


Chart 3
Chih Hui Pu


American, but the headquarters was regarded legally and diplomatically as Chinese. All orders to Chinese units initially went on Chih Hui Pu letterheads, validated by Stilwell's chop at the bottom as commanding general. When the 38th Division moved up to the Ledo area in April 1943, Chih Hui Pu split into a forward and rear echelon. The Forward Echelon was under General Boatner, who relieved General Wheeler and the Services of Supply (SOS) of responsibility for the forward area. Brig. Gen. William E. Bergin took charge of the Rear Echelon.55

Before General Boatner could play his part in the forthcoming campaign, he had to survive a Chinese attempt in September to remove him, and a suggestion that Lt. Gen. Sun Li-jen, commanding the Chinese 38th Division, have a free hand in the approaching operations. Whatever the abstract merit of having General Sun--one of the few Allied commanders to emerge from the First Burma Campaign with enhanced reputation--practically in command of the North Burma Campaign, General Sun's hint that he should take over was cast in a form that made it unacceptable. Sun's letter to Stilwell took so dismal a view of the campaign, referred with such gloomy relish to the Japanese strength and the difficulties of the terrain, as to suggest he approached the fight with extreme reluctance. Stilwell could hardly have entrusted the campaign to a man who had gone on record as having very little faith in it. But Sun had the backing of the Generalissimo, at least for Sun's wish that Boatner go, and the Generalissimo ordered Stilwell to relieve Boatner. Stilwell replied that the commander's deputy, Boatner, must be able to command both the Chinese and the U.S. service troops who would be supporting the drive. Stilwell knew of no Chinese officer able to fill that role. If the Generalissimo did, let the officer be named and a simple, practical test be given to determine the question. The issue was dropped and Boatner kept his post.56

The American personnel of Chih Hui Pu were concurrently 5303d Headquarters and Headquarters Company (Provisional) Combat Troops. They functioned as an American headquarters for the American service and medical units in the Chinese Army, which had few such units.57 As American, British, and Indian combat and service units entered north Burma, they were attached or assigned to the 5303d and its successor headquarters, with the exception of Stilwell's regiment of U.S. jungle-trained infantry (code name GALAHAD) which on arrival was attached to the Chinese Army in India and later to the American headquarters.58 There was no boundary between the communications and the


combat zones, with the result that SOS in the forward zone was duplicating the work of the combat troops in supporting the Chinese.59 An important member of Chih Hui Pu was Capt. C. E. Darlington, who before the war had been district commissioner of the Hukawng Valley for the Government of Burma. Darlington was completely familiar with that section of north Burma, had the loyalty and respect of the Kachin tribesmen who inhabited it, and was an unfailing source of advice and information.60

The Chinese Forces

The Chinese 38th and 22d Divisions were commanded by General Sun and Lt. Gen. Liao Yao-hsiang respectively. General Sun, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, was appraised as: "A good field soldier, courageous and determined. Argumentative, insistent on doing things his way; but much concerned over the well-being of his unit. A capable commander." General Liao, a graduate of St. Cyr in France, was judged: "A good field soldier, courageous and determined. He has faithfully complied with all training directives, and as a result his division is now fully as good as the 38th, which had a long start ahead of him. A capable commander."61

When the 22d and 38th completed their training at Ramgarh, the 38th numbered 946 officers and 11,388 enlisted men, and the 22d, 857 officers and 10,439 men. (See Chart 3.) With service and army troops, the Chinese Army in India totaled 2,626 officers and 29,667 enlisted men. Replacements were provided and the two divisions were actually slightly larger at the end of 1943. The army and service troops included an "excellent" antiaircraft battalion, a motor regiment which worked in the Ledo area, an engineer regiment which built most of the Shingbwiyang airstrip, an animal transport regiment, and two porter units to carry stretcher cases.62

The work horse of the campaign was the infantry regiment, with 129 officers and 2,642 enlisted men at Table of Organization (T/O) strength. It had three battalions, each with three rifle companies and one machine gun company. The battalion had 27 Bren guns, 51 submachine guns, and 18 60-mm. mortars.63 The machine gun company had 8 heavy .30-caliber machine guns. In the regiment for fire support were a mortar company with 12 81-mm. mortars and an antitank company with 8 37-mm. antitank pieces. There were two transportation


companies (one a pack transport), a signal platoon, a special service platoon, and medical and veterinary personnel. There were fourteen radios and plenty of wire equipment.64 Division artillery was on the modest side because of terrain conditions and was attached to regiments as the situation required. As the campaign progressed, the demand for artillery support grew. As a result, by June 1944, one battery of 155-mm. howitzers and one of 105-mm. howitzers were firing in general support. Support by medium and fighter bombers was available on an increasing scale. Allied air superiority in north Burma was complete.

Because of the extremely difficult nature of the terrain in north Burma, extensive reliance was necessarily placed on animal transport, such as mules, horses, and Indian ponies. Each division had about 1,000 animals. Forage for the animals was regularly supplied by air.65

A solution to the replacement problem had been arranged in that the Chinese Government had promised to supply replacements; the success of Stilwell in holding the Chinese to the promise would have a great deal to do with the progress of the campaign. Stilwell's staff believed that much of what they took to be the undue caution of Chinese commanders in the conduct of operations arose from the lack of a functioning replacement system. The Americans believed that the Chinese commander whose force took casualties in battle suffered a proportionate loss of power and influence. Consequently, the Chinese appeared reluctant to embark on combat operations. A steady flow of replacements from China would do a great deal to ensure aggressiveness by Sun and Liao.66

To exercise command, Stilwell drew on his 1942 experiences and organized an American liaison net down to and including the Chinese battalions. Each Chinese division had a small staff of U.S. advisers, including supply, signal, medical, motor, and veterinary officers, under a colonel, who kept in touch with Chih Hui Pu through a division radio platoon and three radio teams. Chinese regiments had a liaison officer of field grade, with radio team; each battalion had a major or senior captain with radio team.

It speaks well for both Americans and Chinese that over a period of months a modus vivendi was established, for liaison personnel were in a delicate situation. They had no powers of command, and their attempts at persuasion and advice often jarred Chinese notions of face. Further, they were working with good Chinese troops under commanders who had had experience of fighting in Burma. It often must have been hard for young Americans on their first campaign to offer suggestions to seasoned veterans. Interpretation of Chih Hui Pu's


orders was a source of potential difficulty, not only interpretation in the narrow sense but in that of conveying the spirit as well. Important clauses, in translation from English to Chinese, were always reinforced with parallel constructions, so that one clause at least might be understood. Though no worse than what other Americans faced in the Southwest Pacific and a little better than what the Chinese bore with cheerful fortitude, conditions in the field for the liaison personnel were still hard and were a strain on those Americans who bore them. There was lacking the sense of fraternity with and close support by one's own people, supplies sometimes vanished, and hostile Chinese officers could make life most unpleasant.67

The American Force

For the projected Burma operations, the War Department had at last supplied some U.S. infantry troops, though originally they were not intended to operate under Stilwell's command, and in number were far from the corps of which Stilwell had always dreamed. On 1 September 1943 General Marshall had directed shipment of about 3,000 volunteers to Asia to form three long-range penetration groups on the model of those commanded by Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate. The project was given the code name GALAHAD. Organization of GALAHAD began on 5 September and was complete on 20 September. Given the designation of 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), the unit was formed of volunteers from the continental United States, the 33d Infantry Regiment on Trinidad, British West Indies, and from the Southwest Pacific.

The War Department did not think that GALAHAD could be restored after action by receiving replacements. The War Department told theater headquarters its conception was that the unit was provided for one major mission of three months' duration, whose close might find the unit so exhausted and depleted that its survivors would require three months' hospitalization and rest. Through rumor, this idea was conveyed to GALAHAD personnel in the somewhat different form that after three months' combat duty they would be relieved.68

After disembarking at Bombay between 29 and 31 October 1943, GALAHAD passed under SEAC's operational control, and SEAC began to train the men according to Wingate's doctrines. This arrangement caused some protest from CBI Theater staff officers, who thought it might be taken as an admission that


Americans did not know jungle fighting. But General Marshall's answer to this and other arguments of like tenor was the simple statement that all hands would have to eat some crow if Japan was to be beaten.69 It may be surmised that the Chief of Staff believed no coalition could endure if one partner always prevailed.

That GALAHAD was under SEAC's operational control, rather than under CBI Theater directly, caused administrative difficulties, for there was no prior decision as to which headquarters would exercise administrative responsibilities. Nor was GALAHAD even activated as a unit until several months had passed. Initially, OPD had ordered Lt. Col. Charles N. Hunter, as "Commanding Officer all Casual Detachments, shipment 1688," to prepare GALAHAD'S personnel for their future duties.70 On 13 November CBI Theater headquarters ordered Col. Francis G. Brink to be "officer-in-charge of training, GALAHAD project." Brink was ordered to deal directly with Rear Echelon headquarters at New Delhi on "all matters pertaining to administration and supply."71 But this letter did not activate the unit nor did it make Brink commanding officer. As best he could under those uncertain conditions, Hunter discharged the duties of commanding officer, while Brink and he trained the men under Wingate's general supervision. As it developed, circumstances permitted two months in which to weld the GALAHAD volunteers into a homogeneous force.

In October, theater headquarters listed a block of numbers from which a unit designation might be taken. Finally, in late December, Hunter cut the administrative tangle by activating the 5307th Regiment (Provisional), using one of the block of numbers supplied by CBI Theater headquarters.72

As the unit took shape in India, it comprised three battalions, the 1st, commanded by Lt. Col. William L. Osborne, the 2d, by Lt. Col. George A. McGee, Jr., and the 3d, by Lt. Col. Charles E. Beach. Each battalion was broken down into two combat teams of 16 officers and 456 enlisted men. The combat team had a rifle company of three rifle platoons and a heavy weapons section, a heavy weapons platoon to support the rifle company, a pioneer and demolition platoon, a reconnaissance platoon (I & R platoon), and a medical detachment. The combat team had 306 M1 rifles, 52 submachine guns, 86 carbines, 4 81-mm. mortars, 4 60-mm. mortars, 2 heavy machine guns, 2 light machine guns, and 3 2.56-inch rocket launchers.

Pack transport was provided for mobility in jungle and over rough terrain. GALAHAD began its campaign with an animal strength of 700.73


The ultimate source of GALAHAD's strategic mobility, its contemplated ability to operate against the flanks and rear of the Japanese, was to be air supply. So that there might be the highest degree of integration and co-ordination, the unit had its own air supply section under Maj. Edward T. Hancock. Its duties were to include preplanning airdrops, ready response to requisitions from the field, packaging supplies in a manner to permit the safest delivery and quickest use, and accurate and speedy delivery of supplies to the point prearranged.74

There was a certain amount of debate on the proper use of long-range penetration groups. At the Quebec Conference, General Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, had expressed the thought that the long-range penetration groups should be worked in close co-operation with the units in contact with the principal Japanese forces, rather than for dramatic penetrations deep into Burma. There was some comment that the long-range penetration groups were really wasted in milling about the interior of Burma, that their proper use, given the circumstances of jungle terrain and air supply, was for short envelopments.75 As events proved, this was Stilwell's idea too. But what use Stilwell might make of GALAHAD was still in the future, in October and November 1943, and under Brink's and Hunter's guidance GALAHAD was busy rounding itself into shape for the events to come.

The Kachin Rangers

Most powerful of the Burman peoples in the path of the projected North Burma Campaign were the Kachins. They are a great fighting stock who have cut their way into Burma from the mountains to the north. Expert woodsmen, and uncannily adept at invoking the nats, or minor deities, of the surrounding hills, the Kachins reminded some of those Americans who worked with them of the American Indian in his greatest days. They had a trait that sometimes amused and sometimes touched the Americans who sought to enlist them against the Japanese: their culture did not recognize deceit in personal relations. "The Japanese have sent me to spy on you," said the Kachin as he entered the camp. "Please, how do I begin?" The Kachins' potentialities as scouts, guides, and irregulars were obvious, and so Detachment 101 of the Office of Strategic Services was organized in 1942. The force thus formed was known as the Kachin Rangers.

Detachment 101 performed a variety of missions, using a mixed personnel of Kachins, Burmese, and Americans. An intelligence net was set up in the Japanese communications zone in north Burma. Guerrilla forces were organized around a cadre of trained Americans and Kachins to attack Japanese lines of communications, working parties, and patrols, and to identify targets for Eastern Air Command.


A SQUAD OF KACHIN RANGERS prepares for inspection.

Late in 1942 a training school for Detachment 101 was organized at Nazira, Assam, under Capt. William R. Peers. By the middle of 1943, the school was able to accommodate 150 students. The training included techniques of espionage and counterespionage, communications, weapons, woodcraft, and Japanese organizations, methods, and order of battle.

After being trained, Burmese and Kachin agents and U.S. officers were flown into north Burma behind the Japanese lines, where they proceeded to recruit, train, and equip bands of Kachin warriors. Silver rupees, cloth, raw opium, and medicines were used as payment. When the time for opening the campaign drew near, Detachment 101 had an intelligence net established behind the Japanese lines, had numerous parties of armed and warlike Kachins totaling several hundred, and was steadily expanding its operations.76

The Battleground

Separated from India, China, and Tibet by an inverted U-shaped bend of great mountains, the Himalayas and their giant spurs, north Burma is divided


by the Kumon Range into two compartments.77(Map 2) West of the Kumon Range, the headwaters of the mighty Chindwin River, flowing north, carved out the Hukawng Valley. Directly south of the Hukawng Valley is the ridge of Jambu Bum, which separates the watershed of the Chindwin from that of the Irrawaddy, Burma's greatest river. South of Jambu Bum lies the long narrow Mogaung River valley, a natural avenue of approach to the great valley of the Irrawaddy, which to its inhabitants is Burma proper. East of the Kumon Range a tributary stream of the Irrawaddy points a long slim finger north from Myitkyina to the Himalayas; at the head of this valley is Fort Hertz, whose airstrip and garrison were the last Allied foothold in Burma in 1942 and which had been held by the Allies ever since.

On the western mountain slopes of Burma are tropical rain forests. In the Hukawng Valley proper the trees are smaller than the mountain giants, with thick, hobbling underbrush about their feet. The occasional clearings more likely than not were filled with elephant or kunai grass, tall as a man, and with an edge like a samurai sword. Crossing bamboo clumps often involved cutting a tunnellike path through the rank growth. The bush was not the tropical forest of legend, with rich and exotic fruit growing in profusion. Little to eat could be found, while the local people raised only enough rice for their own needs.

The winter in north Burma is decidedly chill and a distinct ground mist often cuts visibility sharply. Noontime is pleasant; then the night air brings cold winds with it. The monsoon can come any time after April, and with it, floods. The dry-weather road running from north to south down the Hukawng and Mogaung valleys has several stretches which are submerged during the rains. After February the temperature begins to rise. March is hot and humid, and the weather grows progressively worse until the monsoon breaks, usually in late May or early June.

The place names on the map of north Burma might signify as many as a hundred bamboo huts, surrounded by a stockade, or might be just a clearing in the jungle, like Inkangahtawng, scene of a sharp engagement in the campaign. Myitkyina, the metropolis, had about 8,000 people.

Insect life of a most unpleasant sort is abundant in north Burma. Three varieties of leeches lie in wait for their warm-blooded victims, animal and human. Some drop from trees when their prey passes below; others, on the trailside vegetation, brush off on skin or clothing. There are small black flies whose bite is poison, and clouds of buffalo flies that can penetrate any net. The ubiquitous malaria-bearing Anopheles mosquito lies in wait, and in the grassy clearings lurks a deadly variety of typhus, at that time largely unknown to scientist and soldier alike.


Planning the North Burma Campaign

Planning the Chinese Army in India's (CAI) share in the occupation of the northern part of Burma was eased because of the great distance between the CAI and the principal British concentration which was opposite central Burma. The two campaigns would be far enough apart to permit the two commanders considerable freedom even though the operations were ultimately interdependent. Stilwell's New Delhi headquarters began to plan a north Burma campaign in 1942, assuming use of an army corps. After the TRIDENT Conference, May 1943, and in compliance with its directive to reoccupy north Burma, General Boatner, then commanding the Combat Troops, Ledo Sector, ordered his G-3, Col. Robert M. Cannon, to prepare appropriate staff studies.

Colonel Cannon was directed to prepare a plan to accomplish the current mission of protecting Ledo and the Ledo Road project, and the future one of clearing the Japanese from North Burma. Boatner desired to make increased use of aviation for tactical support and supply, to move the troops by successive advances from one dominant terrain feature to another, and to use airborne and parachute troops.

Boatner's directive focused staff attention on the Hukawng Valley, and its adjacent terrain compartment, the Taro Plain. After crossing the Patkai Range, the Ledo Road emerged from the mountains at Shingbwiyang, at the northwestern corner of the Hukawng Valley. About ten miles south of Shingbwiyang is the Tanai Hka, whose course, though winding snakelike, still follows a definite direction from southeast to northwest. So the road's trace would initially run roughly parallel with the Tanai. The traveler who wishes to cross the Tanai near Shingbwiyang does so at the Kantau ford. Since at the head of the Hukawng Valley the Ledo Road would run roughly parallel with the Tanai, the latter's tributaries would offer the first water obstacle to the road's progress. The first tributary the road builders would meet would be the Tarung Hka.

The western wall of the Hukawng Valley is the Wantuk Bum. Over the eons of geologic time, the Tanai has broken through the Wantuk Bum south of Shingbwiyang. The river bends sharply, flowing almost due south as it enters the small valley of the Taro Plain. The Taro Plain, therefore, is like a small closet adjacent to the long narrow room of the Hukawng and Mogaung valleys. He who wishes to enter the long narrow room from its northern door must be sure that no one is lurking in the closet.

Colonel Cannon complied with Boatner's directive by preparing a three-phase plan calling for seizure of the line of the Tarung Hka from Sharaw Ga (ga indicates village) to the confluence of the Tarung Hka and Tanai Hka. The advance would begin either when the roadhead reached the village of Namlip Sakan or when ordered. The 38th Division, supplied by airdrop which would be supplemented by pack train and porter, would be used. When the roadhead reached Chinglow Sakan, assumed to be 1 January 1944, the next phase would


Map 3
8 August 1943


begin, seizure of the Jambu Bum ridge line, which, running east and west, separated the Hukawng and Mogaung valleys. The 22d Division would join the 38th Division. To carry the advance beyond the Jambu Bum, Colonel Cannon suggested using Chinese airborne troops against either Myitkyina or Kamaing and urged that all supply be by air.78 Approved by Stilwell, these preliminary studies incorporated the elements of air supply and advance from terrain feature to terrain feature that marked the final plan.79

For the drive on Myitkyina, Stilwell's planners drafted ALBACORE, a development and refinement of the earlier Cannon suggestions. (Map 3) ALBACORE ONE and ALBACORE TWO provided for protecting the Ledo base and securing the Shingbwiyang area on D minus 15, in that order. ALBACORE THREE unfolded in four phases, 3A, 3B, 3C, and 3D. Phase 3A was to seize the Jambu Bum; 3B, the Lonkin-Kamaing line; 3C, Mogaung and Myitkyina; 3D, Katha and Bhamo. Phase 3A called for the 38th Division to advance from the Tarung Hka line on D Day, or on 1 December 1943 if D Day had not been announced by then. One regiment was to drive up the Tanai valley, adjacent to and east of the Hukawng Valley, another was to take the line of the Nambyu River and go south and occupy the Jambu Bum. The third regiment was held in reserve.

When the 38th was near the Jambu Bum, the 22d Division would move into the Shingbwiyang area. One of its regiments would protect the 38th Division's right flank, the other would fly to Fort Hertz. This latter move bore the waggish code name LEDO STRIPTEASE. Phase 3B called for the 38th Division to advance from a line just below the Jambu Bum in two columns (one up the Tanai Hka valley, the other along the dirt road to Kamaing). The 22d Division would be in forward reserve.

In phase 3C the 38th Division would take Mogaung. The 22d Division would follow in column until Mogaung was taken, then swing around the Kumon Range to attack Myitkyina from the south while the regiment earlier sent to Fort Hertz closed in from the north. In Phase 3D the 38th Division would take Katha, the 22d Division, Bhamo. ALBACORE assumed the Japanese were not in strength north of Kamaing.80

Stilwell, surveying the field as his staff put the final touches on the Chinese and American share of the campaign, was quietly confident in a personal radio to Marshall. Stilwell was satisfied with the Chinese Army in India, which was well trained and in good condition. If the Japanese did not reinforce materially


in the Myitkyina-Pao-shan area, the operation had a good chance of success, and if 4 Corps did its share by driving into Burma from Manipur State, the Japanese could not reinforce. He planned to take Shingbwiyang and build an airstrip there from which to supply one division to push toward Mogaung. When the Ledo Road reached Shingbwiyang, two divisions driving south could be supplied by air. With any luck, Stilwell expected that the Ledo Road would reach Shingbwiyang by 31 December.81

Underlying these plans and hopes was Chih Hui Pu's estimate of Japanese strength and dispositions. Chih Hui Pu believed that the Japanese in Burma were commanded by Headquarters, Burma Area Army, at Rangoon, with field command by Headquarters, 15th Army, at Maymyo, Burma. Under 15th Army were four divisions, the 18th (Mandalay), 33d (Monywa), 55th (Akyab), and 56th (Lashio). Four Thai divisions were thought to be in the Shan States of Burma. There were reports, as yet unverified, that four more Japanese divisions, identified as the 14th, 16th, 23d, and 21st were in Burma. As of 30 October 1943, G-2 of Chih Hui Pu wrote: "There is no evidence of any enemy in strength north of the fortified area of Kamaing nor is there any indication of such a move in prospect. There are however troops available south of Kamaing which can be moved up when and if needed." Adding faith to this estimate were the circumstances of complete U.S. air superiority over the Hukawng-Mogaung valleys, which permitted unrestricted aerial reconnaissance, and the host of friendly Kachin informants.82

Actually, Chih Hui Pu erred. The Japanese Burma Area Army had six divisions, the 18th, 31st, 33d, 54th, 55th, and 56th, of which the 31st and 54th arrived in 1943, and the 24th Independent Mixed Brigade, then being organized. The 54th Division went to garrison the Arakan region against the feared amphibious descent by SEAC; the 31st Division, to central Burma opposite Manipur State in India.83 (Chart 4) The Thai divisions may be disregarded for they never met SEAC troops in battle and did not free any Japanese garrison troops for service elsewhere, as the Japanese in Burma were not faced with civil unrest. And the Japanese were north of Kamaing.

Appraising ALBACORE, General Boatner thought the scheme had flaws. Though he knew of no Japanese north of Kamaing, he feared that a forward displacement to the line of the Tanai followed by a pause might well attract the Japanese, so he suggested holding the advance well north of Shingbwiyang until 15 November and then going all out for the Jambu Bum. Stilwell agreed and was willing to hold the advance until the 15th.


Chart 4
Japanese Organization and Dispositions:
November 1943

Brig. Gen. Benjamin G. Ferris, chief of staff of Stilwell's Rear Echelon theater headquarters at New Delhi, objected to General Boatner's proposal. Ferris stated that the principal reason for the move forward was to occupy ground within which to build an airstrip in order to receive road-building machinery, which would be flown in to start construction back to the current roadhead. If the Ledo Road did not reach Shingbwiyang by January 1944, said Ferris, all hope of a link with China in 1944 was gone. Further, an advance would set the precedent for a similar forward displacement by 4 Corps, whereas postponement would be highly contagious. In summarizing, General Ferris gave first place to the argument that the advance would give Stilwell a potent argument in urging an aggressive attitude on SEAC and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Stilwell initially agreed with Boatner, but he then discussed the matter personally with Ferris and the latter persuaded him to let the orders stand. Boatner fared no better with a suggestion that the entire 38th Division be sent forward. Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill tried to arrange it, but Stilwell could not agree, because the supply aircraft to support such a move were not at hand.84


Map 4
Entering the Hukawng Valley
October 1943


The Campaign Begins

ALBACORE TWO called for a forward displacement of one regiment of the Chinese 38th Division to cover the onward movement of the Ledo Road and to reach the Tarung, which was the line of departure for the projected North Burma Campaign. (Map 4) D Day, if previously unannounced, was to be 1 December 1943. The orders as received by General Sun for his 38th Division left him very little scope for his own initiative. He was directed to send the 112th Regiment forward to shield the advancing road builders. The 2/112th was to occupy the Tarung Hka villages of Sharaw Ga and Ningbyen, the 1/112th to occupy Yupbang Ga, also on the Tarung, and the 3/112th, Ngajatzup at the northern edge of the Taro Plain.85 This deployment, which dispersed the regiment, was designed to hold the line of the Tarung and the Tanai by controlling the fords, and to bar Japanese excursions from the Taro Plain. Chih Hui Pu expected that the 112th could readily brush aside the maximum expected resistance which was assessed as scattered parties of Burmans under Japanese leadership.86

General Sun received his orders on 5 October but hesitated over moving forward. Boatner saw no good reason for Sun to delay, saying that air support, both tactical and supply, was ample, and enemy opposition "certainly insignificant."87 Finally, the Chinese battalions began to move out. As they trudged ahead, they passed over portions of the trail by which the pathetic refugees of 1942 had fled Burma. The path was a ghastly sight; skeletons were seen about every water hole and at the beginning of every slope. Huddled groups of bones showed where small refugee camps had perished en masse. On his way back to Burma, Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, the Burma Surgeon of the first campaign, saw "hundreds and hundreds" of skeletons as his colleague, Col. John M. Tamraz, the SOS surgeon, had eight months before.88

Ordered by Chih Hui Pu to occupy Sharaw Ga and Ningbyen, the 2/112th, 38th Division, was a little task force as it moved deeper into Burma. It was reinforced and supported by the 5th Company of the 114th Regiment, a Seagrave hospital unit, engineer, and quartermaster troops.89 Two miles north of


Sharaw Ga and many weeks before D Day, the Chinese at about 1200, 30 October 1943, met an enemy outpost. The outpost was driven back, and the advance guard moved on to the Sharaw Ga clearing, where mortar and machine gun fire held it until dark. On the next day the remainder of the battalion came up, and the Chinese tried to take the village, which lay between two hills.

The hill to the north was lightly held. The Chinese quickly overran it, then came under such heavy fire from the second hill that they had 116 casualties. On 1, 2, and 3 November the Chinese attacked, achieving nothing and losing fifty more men. Then they went on the defensive and dug in, but managed to patrol and keep in touch with the regimental command post at Ningam Sakan. The 1st Battalion had much the same experience at Yupbang Ga. Encountering a well-entrenched and well-led force, it dug in and was quickly isolated by a roadblock placed between Sharaw Ga and Ningbyen. (Map 1) That left the 3d Battalion, which was similarly stalemated on the northern edge of the Taro Plain.90 This well-led, well-entrenched enemy was not the expected rabble of Burman levies, but elements of the Japanese 56th Regiment, 18th Division, under Lt. Gen. Shinichi Tanaka.

The surprise caused by the presence of these excellent veteran troops was complete. G-2 reports had given no hint that Japanese forces were in the area. Compounding the intelligence and reconnaissance failure was the reluctance of Chih Hui Pu to admit that the enemy was present in strength. As late as 20 November the weekly G-2 report dismissed the Japanese as having seventy-five to one hundred men at Yupbang Ga, with one hundred more pocketed between Sharaw Ga and Ningbyen, and added that judging by road traffic a battalion was moving up to reinforce.91

Drawn from the island of Kyushu, the men of the 18th Division considered themselves authentic heirs of the martial traditions of the hot-blooded Kyushu clans. A diploma of honor had been given them for their pre-eminent share in storming the island of Singapore. Their commander, General Tanaka, had been chief of operations of Staff Headquarters in Tokyo and had gone from there to join the staff of Southern Army. From Southern Army he had taken command of the 18th Division when Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi moved up to command of the 15th Army.

The 18th Division had moved forward to carry out its mission of garrisoning north Burma, to which was added in September that of supporting a planned attack on India. Anxious to prevent interference with its offensive, the Japanese headquarters in Burma, Burma Area Army, was improving its positions all around the perimeter of Burma. The 56th Division in October 1943 eliminated a Chinese bridgehead over the Salween, north of Teng-chung. In late September, 15th Army in anticipation of the dry season ordered 18th Division to carry out, with its main force, a delaying action in the Hukawng Valley


against the expected Allied thrust from Ledo. Myitkyina was to be strongly held to block any attack from China.

About 24 October a company of the 2/56th, 18th Division, had arrived in the Tarung-Tanai area on reconnaissance. Not finding any Chinese immediately to the north of them, they constructed defensive posts in and around Ningbyen. Probably at the first clash the Japanese outposts appealed for help. A Japanese concentration of unknown size was at Maingkwan and the remainder of the 2/56th was sent forward from there "in the earliest part of November." The rest of the 18th Division was "a month's march" away, General Tanaka recalled in 1948.92 It may be assumed that the 18th Division was reinforced as quickly as possible and was soon present in a strength well able to meet the 112th Regiment's three scattered battalions on more than even terms, especially since at first the Japanese tactics were to place blocks across the trails and force the Chinese to attack them.

The Tarung, which flows south through this area to enter the Tanai, is a respectable river, two hundred yards wide in the dry season and much wider during the rains. Firmly entrenched at Sharaw Ga and Yupbang Ga, the Japanese were holding the river crossings and thus the springboards for the offensive General Tanaka was speedily planning.93

Tanaka personally reconnoitered the area in early November. He decided to adopt a plan which he described long after as being "to move the main strength of the division from Ningbyen toward Shingbwiyang and the exit of the mountain road on the India-Burma border to attack and destroy the American and Chinese forces which would advance in a long column through the tortuous Ledo Road in India." The operation was to begin on 15 December 1943.94

As the Japanese grew in strength, they became more aggressive, and the 112th Regiment, 38th Division, had a series of misfortunes in November. One of its companies was annihilated on 2 November. The regimental command post was overrun on the 3d as its guard was digging in for the night. The regimental commander, a Colonel Chen, and the junior U.S. liaison officer, Maj. George T. Laughlin, escaped, but the chief liaison officer, Lt. Col. Douglas G. Gilbert, was captured. A company of the 1/114th, rushed up to aid by reopening the trail to the 1/112th near Yupbang Ga, was halted by the Japanese well short of its goal. Air supply brought rations to the besieged 150 survivors of the 1/112th, but the acute water supply problem had to be met in part by tapping jungle vines. A great banyan tree was ingeniously made into a fort defending


the west end of the dropping field and garrisoned by two squads with heavy machine guns who put themselves in, around, and under the mighty tree.95

The 38th's failure to advance brought vigorous exchanges between Generals Sun and Boatner. Boatner believed there was only one Japanese battalion at hand, that by passivity and bad tactics the Chinese had let themselves be surrounded and then proceeded to waste their ammunition. Sun thought the whole 56th Regiment faced him along the Tarung and wanted reinforcements. On 26 November Boatner told Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Forces, CBI, that the situation was "critical," that Sun wanted to retreat, and asked if General Hearn could intervene. Since Stilwell was absent on a highly secret and most important mission, Hearn had to handle the problem, which he did by telling Boatner to act strongly in Stilwell's name.96

One possible difficulty lay in the fact that Chih Hui Pu's orders to Sun had, as noted before, allowed him very little initiative and even prescribed the location of his several battalions. Moreover, he had not been free to reinforce without Chih Hui Pu's approval. The situation slowly improved when Chih Hui Pu began reinforcing the 112th Regiment, 38th Division. The 114th arrived at the front in mid-November, and the remainder of the division was on the way.97


As the campaigning season of 1943-44 began, the most important activity took place on the lower levels of the theater. The problem of improving the Assam line of communications to an acceptable standard was approached with determination and vigor. In far-off Washington, the President introduced a new element by his decision to send the B-29's to CBI. Then came the encounter between Chinese and Japanese in the Hukawng Valley which upset the timetable for the campaign. D Day was to have been in December, leaving time for SEAC to settle on a plan for the campaign which would provide a directive to the Chinese in north Burma and the British forces in Manipur and the Arakan. In accord with that concept, the Chinese in north Burma moved forward to screen the advance of the Ledo Road, well before D Day. They stumbled on a strong force of Japanese, and on 30 October 1943 the fight began with both sides reinforcing. The Burma campaign was under way though the detailed plan for it was not yet approved by the CCS and the basic preparation, improvement of the Assam line of communications, had just begun.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (Foreword) * Next Chapter (2)


1. Report and Supplement for the Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia, 1943-1946, Vice Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, New Delhi, India, July 30, 1947 (hereafter, Mountbatten Report), Pt. B, par. 8.

2. Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, Stilwell's Mission to China, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1953), Chs. IX and X.

3. History of the China-Burma-India Theater, 21 May 1942-25 October 1944 (hereafter, History of CBI), p. 161. OPD 314.7 CTO, A47-30. (See Bibliographical Note.)

4. (1) See remarks of Col Francis Hill, Min, Washington Conf, 9 Feb 44. ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 5, A48-224. (See Bibliographical Note.) (2) See Stilwell's Mission to China re TRIDENT and QUADRANT.

5. (1) The principal Army Service Forces and CBI Theater headquarters studies of the projected capacity and requirements of the Ledo Road are discussed in a manuscript by Joseph Bykofsky, The History of Transportation Service in China, Burma, and India in World War II. (Hereafter, Bykofsky MS.) (See Bibliographical Note.) (2) The principal staff studies are: 1. Ltr, Col Frank Milani, AG, Rr Ech, USAF CBI, to Marshall, 31 Jan 44, sub: Project TIG 1-C. Folder, AG (537) Transportation Sec, SOS USFCT, KCRC. 2. Rpt, OCofT ASF, 10 Feb 44, sub: Proposed Motor Transport Service, CBI. Hist Br, QCofT. 3. History of Services of Supply, China, India, Burma Theater, 28 February 1942-24 October 1944 (hereafter, SOS in CBI), App. 24, Sec. 2, Pt. 1. OCMH. (See Bibliographical Note for these references.)

6. Rpt, Col Frederick S. Strong, Jr., Chief Engr, SOS CBI, to Lt Gen Brehon B. Somervell, CG, ASF, 13 Nov 43. Somervell File, Vol IV, Hq ASF, Theaters of Opns, CBI 1944, A46-257. (Hereafter, Somervell File ----.)

7. Ltr, 3872/17/Q, Slim to GHQ (India), 30 Oct 43. SEAC War Diary. (See Bibliographical Note.)

8. Extract, SAC's Personal Diary, 30 Oct 43. SEAC War Diary.

9. SOS in CBI, pp. 53-56.

10. SOS in CBI, pp. 60-62.

11. (1) Ltr, Yount to Wheeler, 10 Nov 43, sub: Capacity of Assam LOC; Ltr, Somervell to Wheeler, 25 Oct 43. Somervell File, Vol IV, CBI 1944. (2) For Yount's work in Iran, see T. H. Vail Motter, The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia. UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1952).

12. (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 29-30. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, par. 39. (3) Ltr, Somervell to Wheeler, 27 Oct 43. Somervell File, Vol IV, CBI 1944.

13. (1) For background on the CBI engineering projects, see Stilwell's Mission to China. (2) SOS in CBI, pp. 441-43.

14. Rpt cited n. 6.

15. Memo, Somervell for JCS, 24 Nov 43, sub: Progress Rpt on Bengal-Assam LOC. Somervell File, Vol IV, Pt I, CBI 1944.

16. Ltr, Col Hill to Maj Gen Orlando Ward, Chief, Mil History, 2 Sep 52. OCMH.

17. (1) Rpt cited n. 6. (2) SOS in CBI, p. 108.

18. SOS in CBI, pp. 111-13.

19. Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X.

20. CM-IN 9027, Stratemeyer to Gen Henry H. Arnold, 11 Sep 43.

21. Memo, Col Thomas S. Timberman, Chief, Asiatic Sec OPD, for ACofS, OPD, 2 Nov 43, sub: Bomber Offensive from China; Memo, Col Frank N. Roberts, Chief, Strategy and Policy Gp, OPD, for ACofS, OPD, 30 Oct 43, sub: Bomber Offensive from China. Case 192, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30.

22. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey [USSBS], The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's War Economy (Washington, 1946), pp. 44-45, 76-77, App. Tables C-16, C-17.

23. (1) Rad, Air Ministry to ARMINDIA, 12 Nov 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) Rad WAR 3815, Marshall to Stilwell and Stratemeyer, 11 Nov 43. Item 1230, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. (See Bibliographical Note.)

24. Memo, Arnold for Marshall, 12 Nov 43, sub: Early Sustained Bombing of Japan; Memo, Brig Gen John E. Hull, Chief, Theater Gp OPD, for DCofS, 14 Nov 43, sub: Engr Units for CBI Theater. Case 192, OPD 381 Security, A47-30. (2) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. VIe, (3) Min, CCS 128th Mtg, 23 Nov 43.

25. Stilwell Black Book, 12 Nov 43. (See Bibliographical Note.)

26. For a fuller discussion of the question of bargaining with the Chinese, see Stilwell's Mission to China.

27. Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. IX.

28. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Chart 6. (2) Lt Gen Albert C. Wedemeyer's Data Book, Item 8. OPD Copy, OCMH. (3) Ralph G. Hoxie, Frederick Ericson, and Robert T. Finney, History of the Fourteenth Air Force, MS. (Hereafter, Fourteenth AF History.) USAF Hist Div.

29. (1) Fourteenth AF History. (2) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II; IV, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944 (Chicago, 1950), Ch. 16, pp. 529-32. (3) Japanese Studies in World War II (hereafter, Japanese Study ----), 116, The Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II, 1941-1945. OCMH. (See Bibliographical Note.)

30. (1) Fourteenth AF History. (2) Rad M 18NE, Chennault to Stilwell and Arnold, 4 Nov 43. Item 1181, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. (3) CM-IN 1668, Stilwell to Arnold, 3 Nov 43.

31. (1) CM-OUT 1413, Arnold to Stilwell for Chennault, 4 Nov 43. (2) Compare the British revelation of the tank in World War I by its use in penny packets in the Somme fighting; the comparable German blunder of introducing gas on a small scale. The combination of surprise and mass can be overwhelming, where the introduction of a new tactic or a new weapon in a small way merely warns the enemy to prepare countermeasures.

32. (1) Fourteenth AF History. (2) Japanese Study 116.

33. (1) A full treatment of the ELOC is in Bykofsky MS. (2) Ltr, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 6 Jul 45. WDCSA 091 China, 15 Aug 45.

34. (1) Japanese Study 129, pp. 2, 11-13, 12, 17-18. (2) Ltr, Col Preston J. C. Murphy to Ward, 22 Oct 52. OCMH.

35. (1) Statement of Col Takushiro Hattori, 21 Jul 49, in Statements of Japanese Officials in World War II, Vol. I, pp. 370-72. OCMH. (2) Japanese Studies 77, 78, 129. (3) Imperial General Headquarters Army Order 921, 24 Jan 44 (hereafter, IGH Army Order ----), GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil History Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Orders, Vol. II. OCMH. (See Bibliographical Note.) (4) Statement of Marshal Shunroku Hata, Aug 52, in Japanese Officers' Comments (hereafter, Japanese Officers' Comments), Incl 2. OCMH. (See Bibliographical Note.)

36. (1) See Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. VIII and IX. (2) See Ch. X, below. (3) Claire L. Chennault, Way of a Fighter (New York, 1949), pp. 256-64. (4) Japanese Study 77. (5) Chennault thought the Japanese retreat proved his contention that "existing Chinese forces with adequate air support can stop any Japanese advance which is not so great as to weaken their defense elsewhere." Ltr, Chennault to Hopkins, 27 Dec 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

37. (1) For a discussion of Chennault's corresponding directly with the President, see Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. IX and X. (2) Ltr, Chennault to Roosevelt, 28 Oct 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. Two days later, the Chinese Army in India engaged the Japanese 18th Division, opening the North Burma Campaign. (3) Memo, Wedemeyer for Mountbatten, 10 Nov 43, sub: Chennault Plan for Air Offensive From China. Attached is Chennault's plan, dated 17 October 1943. Folder, Chennault Air Plan, CT 39, Dr 1, KCRC.

38. Chennault's April 1943 proposals are in Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. IX.

39. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China. Ch. X. (2) Plan cited n. 37(3).

40. Plan cited n. 37(3).

41. Ibid.

42. Stilwell's Mission to China, p. 384.

43. Memo cited n. 37(3).

44. Memo, Stratemeyer for Chennault, 16 Nov 43, sub: Operational Plan for Air Offensive in China, 1 Jan-31 Dec 44. Ltr cited n. 33(2), App. II, Item 21.

45. (1) CM-IN 17227, Stilwell to Marshall, 24 Sep 43. (2) CM-OUT 12455, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 Sep 43.

46. Memo cited n. 44.

47. Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X.

48. Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. VII and X.

49. (1) Z-Force Order of Battle, 30 Aug 43. AG (Z-FOS) 381, KCRC. (2) Theodore H. White, ed., The Stilwell Papers (New York: William Sloane Associates, Inc., 1948), p. 219. (3) CM-IN 6110, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Sep 43. (4) CM-IN 2881, Stilwell to Marshall, 5 Nov 43.

50. (1) History of Z-FOS, 1 Jan-31 Oct 1944. OCMH. (2) Ltr, Stilwell to Arms, 8 Nov 43, sub: Activation of ITC at Kweilin. AG (Z-FOS) 320.2, KCRC. (3) History of India-Burma Theater, 1944-1945, I, 55. OCMH.

51. Memo for record, 30 Oct 43; Memo, Hull for ACofS, G-4, WDGS, 15 Nov 43, sub: Establishment of Policy of Supply of Combat Type of Lend-Lease Materials to China. OPD 400 CTO, A47-30.

52. (1) History cited n. 50(1). (2) Z-Force Journal. KCRC.

53. (1) Opn Instr 1, Eleventh Army Group to Comdr, Fourteenth Army, sub: Opns in Burma, 1943.44. SEAC Info Bk, OCMH. (2) Rad CHC 1111, Stilwell to Maj Gen Daniel I. Sultan, 27 May 44; Rad RE 89, Sultan to Stilwell, 15 Jan 44. Items 188, 17, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File. (3) Ltr, Mountbatten to Marshall, 16 Jan 44; Quotation in Ltr, Marshall to Mountbatten, 26 Jan 44. Case 297, OPD 381 Security, A47-30.

54. Memo [Brig Gen Haydon L. Boatner?], 24 Sep 43, sub: Personnel. Stilwell Numbered File [SNF] 16. (See Bibliographical Note.)

55. (1) Ramgarh: Now It Can Re Told (Ranchi, India, 1945), p. 14. (2) Ltr, Stilwell to Boatner and Wheeler, 6 Apr 43. Item 214, Bk 3, JWS Personal File.

56. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X. (2) Ltr, Sun to Stilwell, 17 Aug 43, quoted in Dr. Ho Yung-chi, The Big Circle (New York: The Exposition Press, 1948), p. 64. (3) Memo, Stilwell For Generalissimo, 27 Sep 43, Item 233, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (4) Rad BURSAM OT-11, Stilwell to Boatner, 21 Sep 45. Item 1027, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. Stilwell suggests that the whole thing is an attempt to remove him from the campaign via Boatner.

57. Ramgarh: Now It can Be Told.

58. (1) GOs 11, 12, 14, Hq Rr Ech USAF CBI, 29 Jan, 5 Feb 44. (2) GO 74, Hq USAF CBI, 17 Jul 44.

59. Ltr, Hq 5303d (Prov) Combat Trs to CG, Fwd Ech USAF CBI, 2 Dec 43, sub: Responsibility of Comd and Opns Within Combat Zone. AG (NCAC) 323.3, NCAC Files, KCRC.

60. Wkly G-2 Rpt, App., Hq 5303d Combat Trs; Ltr, Maj J. W. Leedham, Hq Combat Trs. NCAC Files, KCRC.

61. Memo cited n. 54.

62. (1) Strength Rpt, G-1, Per Rpt, Hq Chih Hui Pu, 20 Jan 44. NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) Opn Rpt, 22d Div (Chinese), 8 Jan 44. ALBACORE Hist File, KCRC.

63. Thanks to the initiative of Dr. Lauchlin Currie, administrative assistant to President Roosevelt, and to the generosity of Canada, the Chinese received from Canadian Mutual Aid programs Bren guns, Boys antitank rifles, Bren gun carriers, and other British-type ordnance. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. I.

64. T/O&E, Chinese Inf Regt, 16 Mar 43. AG (NCAC) 320.3, KCRC.

65. (1) G-3 Rpt, Chih Hui Pu, 27 Jun 44. KCRC. (2) Capt. Edward Fisher, History of the Northern Combat Area Command (NCAC), CBI Theater and IB Theater, MS (hereafter NCAC History), App. 6, History of Air Dropping. OCMH.

66. (1) Ltr, Col Hill to Ward, 2 Sep 52. (2) For examples of Stilwell's efforts to obtain replacements, see Items 1601, 1619, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.

67. (1) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. I, pp. 8-11. (2) Ltr, Lt Col Trevor N. Dupuy to Ward, 12 Sep 52. OCMH. (3) Records of incidents involving Chinese and Americans are to be found in NCAC Files, KCRC.

68. (1) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 26 Sep 43. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (2) Rad WAR 3495, Marshall to Stilwell, 2 Oct 43. Item 1056, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. (3) Ltr, Office IG CBI to CG USAF CBI, 12 Jul 44, sub: Investigation Re 5307th Prov Unit. AG 333, NCAC Files, KCRC. (4) Min, JCS 107th Mtg, 18 Aug 43, Item 2. (5) Ltr, with Incl, Col Charles N. Hunter to Ward, 14 Aug 51. OCMH. Colonel Hunter's personal correspondence file was attached to his letter. (6) Notes by Hunter on draft MS. (Hereafter, Hunter Notes.) OCMH. (7) Ltr, Lt Col George A. McGee, Jr., to Ward, 1 Sep 51. OCMH. (8) Notes by McGee on draft MS. OCMH.

69. Rad AMMDEL 1850, Ferris to Stilwell, 20 Oct 43; Rad WAR 3837, Marshall to Stilwell, Ferris, and Wedemeyer, 13 Nov 43. Items 1097, 1257, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.

70. Ltr, Gen Hull to Hunter, 10 Sep 43, sub: Ltr of Instr. OPD 370.5 CTO (10 Sep 43), A47-30.

71. Ltr, Hq Rr Ech USAF CBI to Brink, 13 Nov 43, sub: Outline of Duties. Correspondence file cited n. 68(5).

72. History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. XIV, GALAHAD, pp. 5-7. (Hereafter this section of History of CBI will be cited as GALAHAD.)

73. GALAHAD, p. 8.

74. GALAHAD, p. 12n, and App. 3.

75. Min, CCS 107th Mtg, 14 Aug 43.

76. (1) Intervs with Lt Col William R. Peers and Capt James L. Tilly. OCMH. (2) NCAC History, App. 8, Brief Sketch of Detachment 101 in the NCAC Campaign.

77. This section is based on Merrill's Marauders (Washington, 1945). This popular account is one of the AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION series originally prepared for distribution in hospitals.

78. (1) Draft Plan, sgd Col Robert M. Cannon, ACofS, G-3 [probably May 43], sub: Plans for Offensive Opns Employing Para and Airborne Trs. NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) See Ch. III, below.

79. Memo, CG, Combat Trs, Ledo Sector, for ACofS, G-3, 26 May 43, sub: Tactical plans; Ltr, Cannon to CO, Base Sec No. 3, 12 Jun 43, sub: Tactical Plans. NCAC Files, KCRC.

80. (1) Opn Plan ALBACORE, 8 Aug 43. Folder, ALBACORE, LEDO STRIPTEASE, NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) Growth, Development and Operating Procedures of Air Supply and Evacuation System, NCAC Comd Front, Burma Campaign, 1943-45, prep by U.S. Mil Observers' Gp, New Delhi, India, MS (hereafter, NCAC Air Supply), p. 8-I. The authors' pagination form has been retained in citations of this manuscript throughout the present volume. OCMH.

81. Rad CK 36, Stilwell to Marshall, 30 Aug 43. Item 769, Bk 2, JWS Personal File.

82. (1) Wkly G-2 Rpt, Hq Chih Hui Pu, 30 Oct 43. KCRC. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 4. OCMH. Lt. Gen. Shinichi Tanaka states that the Japanese order of battle did not include a 14th, 16th, or 23d Division. (3) A Japanese area army may be considered the equivalent of an American army and a Japanese army the equivalent of an American army corps. Therefore on the maps the symbols used for enemy units are those of the American equivalents.

83. (1) Japanese Study 89, pp. 9-10, 30. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments, pp. 2-3. OCMH.

84. (1) Rad RELOT G 240, Boatner to Stilwell, 4 Oct 43; Rad AD 2213, Stilwell to Boatner, 6 Oct 43; Rad AMMDEL 1728, Ferris to Stilwell, 6 Oct 43; Rad AD 2223, Stilwell to Ferris, 7 Oct 43; Rad B 134, Stilwell to Boatner, 6 Oct 43. Items 1062, 1060, 1064, 1065, 1063, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. (2) Ltr, Frank [Merrill] to Haydon [Boatner], recd 4 Sep 43. Folder, Combat Rpts FE and Ln O's, ALBACORE Hist File, NCAC Files, KCRC.

85. For economy of space and simplicity, a battalion is sometimes identified by giving first its numerical designation, followed by a slash, and then the name or the number of the parent regiment, as in the example above, the 2/112th, or the 2d Battalion of the 112th Regiment.

86. (1) NCAC History, pp. 25-28. (2) Lt Col Thomas F. Van Natta, History of the 38th Div, CAI, 1 Oct 43-31 Aug 45, MS. NCAC Files, KCRC. (3) Ltr, Boatner to Stilwell, 29 Nov 43. Folder, Combat Rpts FE and Ln O's ALBACORE Hist File, NCAC Files, KCRC.

87. Rad RELOT G 257, Boatner to Stilwell, 15 Oct 43. Item 1085, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.

88. (1) Tamraz Diary, 19 Feb 43. SGO Hist Div, Washington, D.C. (2) Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, Burma Surgeon Returns (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1946), pp. 27-28, 72-73, 60-63.

89. Regimental designations of Chinese infantry divisions were obtained by multiplying the division's number by three. The product designates the last regiment of the division. Thus, the three regiments of the 38th Division were the 112th, 113th, and 114th; of the 22d Division, the 64th, 65th, and 66th Regiments.

90. (1) Map Overlay, Hq 5303d (Prov) Combat Trs, 13 Nov 43. NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) NCAC History, pp. 25-28.

91. Wkly G-2 Rpts, Hq 5303d Combat Trs, Oct-Nov 43; Numbered Int Sums, summer and early fall 1943, Hq Combat Trs, Folder, Int Sums, NCAC Files, KCRC.

92. (1) Rpts cited n. 91, above. (2) Interrog, Gen Tanaka, 13 Jan 48. OCMH. (3) SEATIC Bull 244, 3 Oct 46, sub: History of Japanese 33d Army, pp. 11-12. MID Library. (4) The diary of a Japanese officer indicates that he was in Taihpa Ga with his unit before 24 October 1943. He recorded that incoming soldiers were digging defensive positions, presumably on 25 or 26 October. General Tanaka thought that the Japanese arrived about 26 October. Folder, Misc Work Sheets of Captured Japanese Docs-1944; Int Sum 111, 6 Nov 43, Hq 5303d (Prov) Combat Trs. Folder Int Sums, NCAC Files, KCRC. (5) Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 5. OCMH.

93. Interrog cited n. 92(2).

94. Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 4. OCMH.

95. Comments by Col Dupuy on NCAC History, I, 29. (Hereafter Dupuy Comments.) OCMH. Colonel Dupuy was present throughout the North Burma Campaign and kept extensive notes. In writing this section, the authors are greatly indebted to him and Lt Col George T. Laughlin.

96. Rad RELOT G 323, Boatner to Hearn, 26 Nov 43; Rad RELOT G 322, Boatner to Hearn, 26 Nov 43; Rad OT 56, Hearn to Boatner, 30 Nov 43. Items 1286, 1285, 1290, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.

97. (1) Map Overlay cited n. 90(1). (2) Map Overlay, Hq 5303d (Prov) Combat Trs, 4 Dec 43. NCAC Files, KCRC.

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